The SeaWeb Seafood Summit took place in Seattle, USA on June 5-9. The Summit aims to define success and advance solutions in sustainable seafood by fostering dialogue and partnerships that lead to a seafood marketplace that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

The theme of the 2017 Summit was ‘Evolving Today’s Trends into Tomorrow’s Sustainable Markets’.  As the global role of seafood continues to increase, so does the importance of establishing realistic and effective sustainability strategies today to secure the livelihood of this invaluable resource for tomorrow.

One of the hottest subjects in the SeaWeb Summit was without doubt traceability.  With new US IUU regulations coming into play there is an increasing need for suppliers to be able to identify how, when, where and by whom fish are caught as well as following their journey through the supply chain.

Per Erik Bergh, Stop Illegal Fishing commented, “Whilst we welcome efforts to increase traceability there is a concern that this does not tackle the serious issue of illegal fishing. We know that operators are able to launder illegally caught fish with legal catch and whilst at sea transhipment are allowed this cannot be effectively controlled. I look forward to learning more about the processes that will be used and hope that stringent verification procedures will be employed.”

Human trafficking in the seafood sector was also high on the agenda, as recent high profile cases have identified the scale of the issue. “It’s encouraging to see so much emphasis on the social issues involved in sustainable seafood, with industry involvement we can expect to see better controls in place to prevent the incidence of forced labour and human rights abuses on board fishing vessels and in the fisheries sector.” Stated Per Erik Bergh.

At the Seafood Champions Awards FISH-i Africa were announced as winners of the Innovation category. An intergovernmental grouping of eight countries where cooperation, information sharing and mutual support is the fundament, FISH-i Africa is a dynamic organisation that provides technical, legal and operational support to enable quick response and confidence to deal with illegal fishing and fisheries crimes.  On receiving the award on behalf of the FISH-i Task Force Per Erik Bergh said, “The people involved are very much at the heart of the cooperation.  Technology and tools are important to the Task Force – but only in support of risk assessment and decisions.  It has been a steep learning curve over the last years with many lessons learned but the experiences are all part of a very successful and evolving voyage.”