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The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program Edward R. Cassano Senior Director Conservation Outreach November, 2nd, 2009 China Seafood Show What is Seafood Watch? A program of Monterey Bay Aquarium empowering consumers and businesses to make choices for healthy oceans. •Build awareness (Why should I care?) •Provide the knowledge (What are the environmentally preferable choices?) •Encourage action (What can I do?) How It All Started Exhibit “Fishing for Solutions” (1997-1999) • Food service menu changes • Husbandry feed changes • Members Asked for Consumer Guide Seafood Watch - Outreach The Seafood Watch program works in a variety of different ways: Seafood Watch Pocket Guides Major Buyer partnerships Monterey Bay Aquarium website Mobile applications - iPhone Consumer decisions – health and the environment Two-thirds of consumers have made seafood purchases motivated by 67% health concern 35% Over a third have made 31% 24% seafood purchases driven concerned concerned both neither by environmental concern about health/food about environmental safety issues impacts Seafood Watch Pocket Guides Mobile applications www.seafoodwatch.org Turning the Tide: The State of Seafood Report can be found at…… www.montereybayaquairu m.com State of the Worlds Fisheries (FAO) Sustainable Seafood “From sources, whether fished or farmed, that can maintain or increase production without jeopardizing the structure and function of affected ecosystems”. Functioning ecosystem is as important as the status of the fish stocks Recommendation Categories Best Choices/Green: Consumers strongly encouraged to purchase seafood in this category. Fits SFW definition of “sustainable”. Good Alternatives/Yellow: Consumers are encouraged to purchase seafood in this category, as they are better choices than “Avoid” species. However, some concerns remain so it does not meet all the qualities of “sustainable”. Avoid/Red: Consumers are encouraged not to consume these products, and they are considered unsustainable, at least for now. Process of Developing a Seafood Watch Recommendation I Identify Species to Research and Analyze II Talk with Experts/Industry III Compile Information, Data, Literature IV Run information through Criteria/Methodology V Draft detailed Seafood Reports VI Internal Review VII Scientific Review of Seafood Reports (at least 2) VIII Post to Web/Add to Pocket Guide IX Monitor and Update Seafood Watch Methodology Science-based Transparent and understandable 2 part process 1) Science - Information (Criteria) 2) Conservation Ethic - Decision-making (Methodology) Weighting factors relative to each other “Critical Conservation Concern”: Some concerns severe enough to warrant Avoid, regardless of other factors (deal breaker) Goal: accurate, objective, balanced, thoughtful, precautionary Available at www.SeafoodWatch.org 5 Criteria Capture Fisheries Aquaculture Inherent Vulnerability Use of Marine Resources Stock Status Risk of Escapes to Wild Stocks Bycatch Risk of Disease Transfer to Wild Stocks Habitat Effects Risk of Pollution and Habitat Effects Management Management Data Sources Peer-reviewed journal articles Fishery managers NOAA (i.e., NMFS Quarterly Reports) Fishery Management Councils Regional Science Centers (observer data; stock assessments) State fishery managers FAO International Management Bodies (e.g., IATTC) National fisheries agencies Certifications/audits Industry groups/producers (with independent verification) Seafood Reports Typically 30-100 pages Background and context on each on fishery or farmed species Market data, including imports/exports Detailed narrative descriptions of factors and criteria as basis for recommendation References for all information sources Peer reviewed by at least 2 scientific experts Continuously updated with new information What’s not included? Use of terrestrial/freshwater resources Energy use/climate impacts Social and economic concerns Animal welfare (indirectly) Traceability Food Safety (indirectly) Each criteria comprised of several factors/indicators Example: “Status of Stocks” factors evaluate: Government classification status Current population abundance relative to BMSY Occurrence of overfishing Trends in population abundance Age, size or sex distribution relative to natural condition Overall degree of uncertainty in status of stock Factors can be: Dependent or independent of the production activity/fishery Performance-based or process-based Individual or cumulative Each factor is scored using the ‘traffic light’ Quantitative thresholds Qualitative categories Professional Judgment Ranking Each Criterion Based on particular combinations of factor scores Depend on the situation at hand and the mechanics of the risk involved Recognizes interactions between factors Reflects weighting of various factors relative to each other, grounded in our conservation ethic Example: Capture Fisheries Habitat and Ecosystem Effects Overall Evaluation Same Decision Rules for Aquaculture An otherwise Green fishery with 1 substantial issue will not be a “Best Choice” Major Buyer partners Is Aquaculture the answer? Issues of Concern: Aquaculture •Use of wild fish for feed • Spread of disease and parasites to wild fish • Use of hormones, antibiotics and chemicals • Pollution (feces, salt water intrusion, chemicals) • The impact of escaped fish on wild populations and ecosystems • The impacts of farms on sensitive habitats Seafood Watch Aquaculture Criteria • Use of marine resources • Risk of escapes to wild stocks • Risk of disease and parasite transfer to wild stocks • Risk of pollution and habitat effects • Effectiveness of the management regime Best Choice Good alternative Avoid Criterion 1 – Use of Marine Resources • Feed conversion efficiency • Use of fishmeal and fish oil • Conversion efficiency of wild fish to farmed fish • Sustainability of reduction fisheries • Source of stock • Use of wild caught brood stock or seed Criterion 2 – Risk of Escaped Fish to Wild Stock • Evidence that fish regularly escape to the surrounding environment • Status of escaping farmed fish • Native or non-native • Genetically or ecologically distinct • Evidence of establishment in the wild • Evidence of negative interactions with wild stocks • Stock status of wild populations Criterion 3 – Risk of Disease and Parasite Transfer to Wild Stocks • Risk of disease amplification and retransmission of diseases or parasites to wild stocks • Risk of introductions or translocations of novel disease/parasites to wild stocks • Biosafety risks inherent in the operation – e.g. open or closed systems • Stock status of potentially affected wild stocks Criterion 4 – Risk of Pollution and Habitat Effects • Effluent effects • Effluent treatment • Evidence of local effects • Evidence of regional effects • Habitat effects • Location – site sensitivity • Extent of operations and intensity Criterion 5 – Effectiveness of the Management Regime • Application and effectiveness of federal, state and local laws • Existence and effectiveness of: • Better Management Practices • Measures to prevent disease and treat outbreaks • Measures for the regulation of chemical use • Policies and incentives utilizing a precautionary approach Tilapia Ranking - Regional Tilapia Ranking - Production Tilapia Ranking - Production China Exports by Product Volume (Primary Production) 300000 250000 200000 150000 Metric Tons 100000 50000 0 Scallops Tilapia Shrimp Yellow Eels FW Catfish Grouper Prawns China Exports by Product Value (Primary Production) 1200 1000 800 600 USD Millions 400 200 0 Shrimp Scallop Tilapia Eels FW Prawn Yellow Crabmeat Grouper How MBA Rates Chinese Seafood Exports Imported Farmed and Wild-Caught Shrimp Rated “Avoid” by MBA Scallops Bay Scallops rated “Best Choice” Farmed Sea Scallops from China not rated Farmed Freshwater Eel Worldwide “unagi” rated “Avoid” by MBA Farmed Catfish Not rated by MBA Crabmeat (Swimming Crab) Not rated by MBA Certification • It is challenging for seafood consumers to identify seafood products from a well managed sustainable farm, or a poorly managed unsustainable one. • Certification offers the potential for farm by farm distinction • The value of certification depends entirely on the rigor of the standard and the inspection audit process • We are continually reviewing the development of standards and participate in their development.
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