Dedicated to protecting the world’s five oceans.

Improving Seafood Traceability

Oceans 5 is supporting four organizations seeking to combat illegal fishing and improve accountability for fisheries conservation.  The project seeks to develop regulations in the United States to ensure that all seafood is legally sourced and fully traceable “from bait to plate.”  By closing one of the world’s biggest seafood markets to imports of illegal fish, the project aims to drive global standards for seafood traceability and well-monitored fishing.

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is estimated to average at least twenty percent of the global catch, with a value of $10-23 billion per year.   IUU fishing interests hide behind one of the world’s most opaque supply chains, and are directly associated not only with fisheries depletion but with a host of other crimes including drug smuggling, human trafficking, and even terrorism.  Without good seafood traceability, neither consumers nor retailers can readily know where the fish they buy and sell really comes from.  The result is that pirate fishers today can easily bring their stolen fish products to market, mixed invisibly into legitimate seafood supplies.

This project builds on a new approach to halting trade in IUU products spearheaded by the European Union, which now requires certifications of legal origin for imported seafood.  It also builds on a set of new international norms and tools to strengthen fisheries monitoring, improve information flow, and restrict IUU activities.

The four grantees include Oceana, World Wildlife Fund, Marine Fish Conservation Network, and Greenpeace.  Each organization has a series of deliverables that support the common objective of initiating new rulemaking in the United States. Oceans 5 expects to provide funding to the four organizations for two years beginning in 2012.

Seafood market. Photo by Deymos.HR/Shutterstock.com

Seafood market. Photo by Deymos.HR/Shutterstock.com

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