Also during the show, Honolulu-based Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) launched a new online interactive tool that provides a visual evaluation of methods to reduce wildlife bycatch in tuna longline fisheries, based on those methods’ relevance to specific species, effectiveness, ease of implementation, and cost.
“Sustainable seafood means reducing the harm from fishing to sharks, marine mammals, sea turtles and seabirds,” said Kathryn Novak, global markets director at SFP, on the occasion of the Solve My Bycatch Problem launch, which took place at the marine conservation organization’s Bycatch Solutions Open House on March 14. “Action by retailers and the entire seafood supply chain is essential to reducing bycatch of ocean wildlife.”
The open house enabled retailers and seafood suppliers in attendance to connect with experts on the latest bycatch reduction technologies and initiatives.
In the course of a chat with Progressive Grocer ahead of the launch, Novak observed that the new program highlighted proven best practices at fisheries to effect change, spur adoption at scale, and drive innovation and further improvement in this area. She explained that over the past year and a half, the emphasis had shifted from conservation to “restoration of balance to the ecosystem.” She also noted that seafood sales had risen dramatically during the pandemic as more consumers began preparing and eating food at home, and that initiatives of this kind, capitalizing on rising consumer interest in sustainability, were a way to retain those sales. As far as retailers’ promotional efforts in this regard, Novak was hopeful that that there “will be good stories to tell,” just as there have been with retailers involved in SFP’s popular Ocean Disclosure Project, a reporting framework introduced in 2015 for seafood companies, including retailers and suppliers, to voluntarily disclose their wild-caught seafood sourcing alongside information on the environmental performance of each source.