WWF and Bobby Chinn help save Asia Pacific fish stocks one dish at a time
WWF has been working with the award-winning TV host in promoting responsible seafood production, retail, and consumption to help address dwindling fish resources in the Coral Triangle—an area in the Asia Pacific region containing one of the highest concentrations of reef fish on the planet, many of which are exported to Vietnam.
“As a publicly-known chef and restaurateur, I’m in a unique position to help educate fellow seafood retailers and consumers on how their choices can help transform the fishing industry for the better,” said Bobby Chinn.
As a personal commitment to the cause, Bobby introduced a “responsible seafood menu” at his restaurant, consisting of dishes using responsibly-sourced products from seafood companies that comply with best management practices in seafood production, some of which have been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)—the most credible certification and eco-labelling organizations for wild capture fisheries and farmed seafood respectively.
Dwindling fish stocks
Unsustainable fishing practices are causing tremendous stress on the region’s marine resources, brought about by increasing seafood demand from around the world. Destructive fishing methods are still rampant in some parts of Asia Pacific and are rapidly destroying critical coral reef ecosystems.
“Without urgent transformative measures from fishing companies, seafood retailers, and consumers, fish stocks will continue to decline and we may not have enough fish resources left in the near future to secure our food and livelihood,” said Ngo Tien Chuong, WWF Vietnam’s Aquaculture Coordinator.
WWF has been working closely with the private and public sectors to help improve fishing practices through fisheries and aquaculture improvement projects that help fisheries adopt better management practices, and assisting them to eventually attain MSC and ASC certification.
In Vietnam, for example, WWF helped the clam fishery in Ben Tre to be the first in Southeast Asia to get MSC certification in 2009, increasing its export price by as much as 50 per cent.
In line with the government’s goal to attain responsible pangasius production, WWF has also been working with pangasius exporting companies and has helped the industry achieve its first target of having 10 per cent of its total production ASC-certified in 2012. An additional 15 per cent is expected by the end of 2013.
These two sustainably-certified seafood products are on Bobby Chin’s menu.
“This is a new model of cooperation and we hope that it will multiply and be applied to other industries in Vietnam. The success of this model will help Vietnamese industries, especially fisheries and aquaculture, to achieve its target toward sustainable development,” said Ms. Tran Thu Nga, Chairwoman of Ben Tre Fishery Association.
“More people need to understand the direct link between the seafood on their plate and the state of our ocean’s resources,” explained Bobby Chinn. “I hope that through collaborative efforts like these, we can make a bigger impact on the way people choose seafood.”
Notes to the Editor:
-The Coral Triangle is the world’s centre of marine life—a vast ocean expanse in the Asia-Pacific region covering the seas of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. This region contains roughly 37 per cent of the world’s known coral reef fish species and produces about 30 per cent of the total global tuna catch.
-Vietnam is connected to the Coral Triangle both bio-geographically and economically. Tuna and other species caught in Vietnam have a geographic range that include other Coral Triangle countries, and vice versa. Some fish harvested within the Coral Triangle is exported to Vietnam where they are processed and/or consumed.
For further information:
Paolo Mangahas, Communications Manager, WWF Coral Triangle Programme, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org