Network launched to promote sustainability of seafood in Asia-Pacific

Posted on 30 November 2012

Hong Kong, China –With increasing concern for seafood security across Asia-Pacific and growing potential for a seafood crisis, WWF has launched a new network aimed at advancing sustainability in the seafood industry.
Hong Kong, China –With increasing concern for seafood security across Asia-Pacific and growing potential for a seafood crisis, WWF has launched a new network aimed at advancing sustainability in the seafood industry.

The Asia-Pacific Sustainable Seafood and Trade Network is a WWF-led business-to-business partnership of key players in the seafood industry who are committed to attaining and championing sustainable fisheries and seafood trade.

“Our intention is provide the means for seafood companies and fishery participants from across the Asia-Pacific region to incorporate sustainability into their supply chains,” said Dr. Geoffrey Muldoon, WWF Coral Triangle Program Strategy Leader.

Increasing demand for seafood globally is threatening not only the sustainability of fish stocks in the Coral Triangle but also the livelihoods dependent on them. Food security in the region is dependent on all players in the seafood sector—from large companies and small-scale fishers to seafood buyers and retailers—many of whom don’t have access to the support or information required to improve their fishing or sourcing practices.

“We need to harness the power of business-to-business partnerships in the seafood industry to promote sustainability and responsible production of seafood, and build on the efforts of those companies who are already committed to improved stewardship of the region’s fisheries resources,” said Dr. Muldoon.

This regional seafood and trade network will include companies working in both the supply side from Coral Triangle countries and the demand side from other parts of the globe, representing a shared commitment from all parties to higher sustainability standards.

“We are finding that people are increasingly looking for responsibly-produced seafood and many companies are likewise recognizing the need to include more sustainable products in their seafood range. This network will increase the quantity of seafood being caught responsibly by ensuring sustainability across the supply from ‘boat to throat’,” said Dr. Muldoon

A major obstacle to advancing sustainability in developing countries is the lack of effective management. Markets and eco-labeling schemes such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) can support change, but many fisheries in the Asia-Pacific region find it challenging to utilize these schemes.

“A core objective of this regional seafood and trade network is to fill this void and support industry and government to engage in these schemes, implement more responsible fishing and trade practices, and move towards MSC certification,” said Dr. Muldoon.

“For example, through this network, we have bought together a coalition of private sector companies catching, processing, and exporting Vietnamese caught tuna, to work with government in improving the management of these fisheries,” added Dr. Muldoon.

“Moreover, using WWFs global reach, we are working to secure support from companies in Europe and North America for more responsibly-caught tuna, and to provide incentives for continued improvement.”

The Asia Pacific Sustainable Seafood and Trade Network builds on the work started in Indonesia, known locally as Seafood Savers, which has shown strong interest among industry leaders to pursue more sustainable practices in their businesses.

The main objectives of this regional network includes: facilitating the responsible production and procurement of seafood products; supporting best management practices in fisheries; improving access to finance or micro-credit schemes and attracting sustainable finance partners to support improvement projects; and ushering companies towards eventual MSC or Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification.

For more information about the Asia-Pacific Seafood and Trade Network, contact: Dr. Geoffrey Muldoon, WWF Coral Triangle Strategy Leader, email.


Editors note:

The Coral Triangle—the nursery of the seas—is the world’s center of marine life, encompassing around 6 million sq km of ocean across six countries in Asia-Pacific – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. It is home to 76% of the world’s known coral species, 37% of the world’s coral reef fish species, and commercially-valuable species such as tuna, whales, dolphins, rays, sharks, including 6 of the world’s 7 known species of marine turtles.

The Coral Triangle directly sustains the lives of more than 120 million people and contains key spawning and nursery grounds for tuna. Its reef and coastal systems also underpin a growing tourism sector. WWF is working with governments, local communities, businesses, and consumers to promote sustainable development in this region. For information on Coral Triangle go to: coraltriangle

For further information: 

Geoffrey Muldoon, Strategy Leader, WWF Coral Triangle Programme, Email 

Paolo Mangahas, Communications Manager, WWF Coral Triangle Programme, Email
Flowery grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus); Fiji Large flowery groupers often live in small groups in barrier reef passages or near deep reef drop offs.
© Cat Holloway / WWF