Smart Fishing Network Initiative - Asian Seafood Guides

Geographical location:

Asia/Pacific > East Asia > China > Hong Kong


Seafood Guides have been recognised as an effective tool to promote sustainable consumption of seafood within and beyond the WWF network. At least 12 WWF offices have used seafood guides to communicate with seafood consumers and suppliers to reduce their marine footprint

The Asian Seafood Guides Project aims to develop cooperative strategies to promote sustainable seafood production and consumption for the East and Southeast Asia region and to establish a species assessment data bank in Asia, similar to the North Sea Foundation data bank (for Europe), for the production of seafood guides.


At the Smart Fishing NI planning meeting in April 2007, WWF Netherlands suggested that seafood guides would be an excellent tool in SE Asia to promote sustainable seafood consumption and production. Currently only WWF Indonesia and Hong Kong have produced guides covering multiple types of seafood in the region.

WWF Indonesia released its seafood guide in 2005 and WWF Hong Kong released the seafood guide in early 2007 by adopting the 2006 version of the assessment criteria for wild-caught and farmed species, aka the Common Methodologies, developed from a joint project of Seafood Choice Alliance, North Sea Foundation (NSF) (Netherlands), UK Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and WWF International

A suggestion was made in the SFNI meeting that WWF Hong Kong use its experience with the Common Methodologies to undertake assessments on behalf of other East and Southeast Asian offices. While the North Sea Foundation has already created a species assessment data bank for WWF offices in Europe, the Hong Kong office can establish a data bank to assist other offices in East and Southeast Asia for the production of seafood guides. The advantages of adopting the Common Methodologies are that consistent results and recommendations can be delivered not only in Europe but also in the East and Southeast Asia, and the potential for multiple guides to use the same fish species assessments in these 2 regions is maximised as useful information can be easily accessed and readily available across WWF Network.

Two activities were initially proposed, including a regional capacity building workshop and the establishment of a species data bank for the production of seafood guides. While the capacity building workshop aims to develop synergetic strategies (in line with the strategies of the proposed Smart Fishing NI – Seafood Purchasing Preferences Strategy, Coral Triangle NI – Live Reef Fish sub-initiative, and possibly Marketing Transformation NI) to promote sustainable seafood production and consumption, and to discuss how best to implement seafood guides for the region.

The establishment of a East and Southeast Asian species data bank intends to assist interested WWF Asian offices to conduct assessments for selected seafood species.

Following more recent discussions with the Coral Triangle NI on Live Reef Food Fish sub-initiative, other offices have become interested. The following offices have now expressed an interest in having assessments done for their region: Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, China (for northern region) and Singapore.

Not only can the Asian Seafood Guides project provide an excellent opportunity for WWF offices in East and Southeast Asia to synergistically work on individual WWF Network Initiatives, it can also promote the collaboration work across different Network Initiatives such as SFNI, CTNI and potential MTNI.


By mid-2009, WWF Hong Kong will be in a position to assist interested WWF offices in East and Southeast Asia through a capacity building workshop and the establishment of a species assessment data bank to support their regional/national/local seafood campaigns:
1) promoting the sustainable seafood consumption through a seafood mini-guide and other media products, and
2) ensuring commitments from retailers and consumers and other NGOs to promote MSC and green list seafood.


Securing the long-term conservation of the fish stocks for the benefit and appreciation of future generations by educating people on the sustainable use of seafood, and encouraging them to choose seafood from fisheries using ocean-sustainable methods (no bycatch, managed stock, no illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing).

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