October 5, 2017

New Alliance Aims to Tackle Illegal Fishing by Improving Seafood Supply Chains

News Source: FishWise

At the Our Ocean Conference in Malta, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Walton Family FoundationDavid and Lucile Packard FoundationGordon and Betty Moore Foundation and FishWise announced a new alliance to combat illegal fishing and strengthen sustainable fisheries management.

The Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT) is a global initiative for knowledge exchange and action to promote legal and sustainable fisheries through improved transparency in seafood supply chains. FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy, will coordinate the alliance.

More than 3.1 billion people rely on fish for food, yet illegal fishing and inadequate management jeopardize livelihoods, threaten security, contribute to human trafficking and undermine the sustainability of the world’s fisheries. For example, annual illegal and unreported marine fishing generates US$15-36 billion in illicit profits.

To address this challenge, SALT will bring together the seafood industry, governments and nongovernmental organizations to accelerate learning and collaborate on innovative solutions for legal and sustainable seafood. By improving seafood traceability, or the ability to track the movement of seafood through supply chains, businesses and governments can help ensure that seafood is legally sourced and fisheries are sustainably managed.

“Traceability is a critical component of an efficient, modern and sustainable seafood industry,” said Teresa Ish, Oceans Program Officer at the Walton Family Foundation. “This is an exciting collaboration that we hope will incentivize and support seafood companies to implement best practices, more effectively self-regulate and play a role in stronger fisheries management.”

“While fisheries management and the seafood industry are facing some challenges—including fundamental, long-term resource constraints in business-as-usual scenarios—we recognize better traceability and legality as a bright-light opportunity for businesses and for conservation,” explained Sabine Miltner, program director for the Moore Foundation’s conservation and markets initiatives. “For businesses, full traceability can address and mitigate supply chain risk and foster trust among clients and consumers.”

The approach will be designed over the next twelve months to meet the needs of key stakeholder groups, and SALT will provide the collaborative space for these groups to exchange information and expertise. The seafood industry will learn about the value of traceability for improving supply chains, reducing business risk, complying with import requirements and contributing to sustainable fisheries. Seafood-producing countries will learn how traceability can be used to improve fisheries management, meet import requirements and verify the legality of harvests. Seafood-consuming countries will have opportunities to share information about their seafood import regulations, leading to enhanced compliance and strengthened demand for legal seafood.

“Seafood is the most widely traded food commodity in the world. The global nature of the industry poses unique challenges to sustainability,” said Tobias Aguirre, Chief Executive Officer at FishWise. “If we can more effectively document and trace our seafood and use that information to empower fisheries managers, we will be one big step closer to long-term sustainability of the industry.”

“Poor transparency and supply chain traceability are major impediments to achieving our goals around ending illegal fishing,” said Meg Caldwell, Deputy Director for Oceans at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. “Our hope is that this learning network will enable better information to improve seafood transparency and traceability policies and practices, which are needed as we work together toward responsible and evidence-based marine resource management around the world.”

SALT will enable stakeholders to work together to clarify needs, challenges and opportunities to improve traceability and seafood supply chains. The alliance will catalyze solutions that transform how the seafood industry and governments collect, share, verify and ultimately utilize data in the pursuit of sustainable fisheries.

To learn more about SALT and register your interest as a stakeholder, please visit