SeaBOS - joining forces to transform the global seafood industry

Boat at seaThe brainchild of the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) is an initiative resulting from a series of Keystone Dialogues between scientists and seafood companies. The Keystone Dialogue aims to explore whether or not a small number of “Keystone Actors” have the potential to transform the global seafood system. The SeaBOS initiative is an expression of interest from industry to explicitly test the hypothesis that a small minority of powerful actors can influence a majority of smaller actors. 

"We were delighted so many companies accepted our offer. This shows that they recognise their role and that they understand how important they are in their efforts to develop and save the world's fish resources," says Henrik Österblom, project leader and Deputy Science Director at Stockholm Resilience Centre.

For the first time, the initiative connects the global seafood business to science, connects wild capture fisheries to aquaculture, and connects European and North American companies to Asian companies. The ambition is to lead a global transformation towards sustainable seafood production and a healthy ocean. The initiative is actively contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular Goal 14 – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

The SeaBOS initiative is unique because it has transferred an ecological concept of “keystone species”, which are especially crucial for the functioning of their natural environments, to the business sector with respect to seafood production. Now, CEOs from the 10 largest global seafood companies (including fishing, aquaculture and aquafeed manufacturing) have joined forces through SeaBOS to create transformative change on the water and across their value chains through 5 Task Forces.

Seabos dialogue JapanNutreco Corporate Sustainability Director Jose Villalon chairs Task Force 1, in partnership with SRC and through close collaboration with Maruha Nichiro Corporation, Charoen Pokphand Foods and Dongwon Industries aswell as several external environmental NGOs. This task force is focused on delivering:

  • A document that addresses the seven high-level voluntary principles and 45 main criteria to significantly reduce the prevalence of IUU Fishing activities and Modern Slavery; and
  • A demonstration proving that the outfitting of commercial fishing vessels with deck cameras, crew facial recognition and captured fish species recognition computer software, vessel tracking and the use of blockchain platform technology can be economically feasible and effective in documenting and reducing these risks.

The first component is intended for governmental regulators to potentially adopt into their national legislation programmes and for companies to adopt into their corporate procurement policies. The second component is meant to be implemented and adopted into best practices by corporate fishing vessels and contractor fishing vessels protocols.

Nutreco and Skretting are founding members of the SeaBOS initiative, and recognise the importance of sustainably managed oceans and fisheries for future generations. “It is our hope that this show of leadership will encourage others to join and run with the same actions,” says Villalon. “Together, we can make the necessary changes to ensure healthy oceans.” 

Skretting/Jan Inge HagaHRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden spoke about "The Ocean Challenge and SeaBOS" at AquaVision 2018

Crown Princess Victoria is an Advocate for the UN Sustainable Development Goals and has a strong personal commitment to healthy and sustainable food. She has chosen to focus on work relating to the sea and fishing. The UN Sustainable Development Goal number 14, “Life below water”, is aimed at conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.


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Partnerships for the goals

Cooperation between value chain partners (business, government, science and NGOs) is a prerequisite to successfully addressing the sustainability challenges of our industry. Skretting and Nutreco participate in various sustainable partnerships such as the Round Table on Responsible Soy, the ProTerra Network, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council and the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Responsible Supply Standard.

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