Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship
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. 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 will actively contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in particular Goal 14 – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
Connect science and business
Connect fisheries with aquaculture
Connect seafood companies all over the world
Statement for collaboration
The keystone actors participating in the first dialogue produced a joint statement. This statement outlines their concern about the current and future state of the ocean, and identifies a number of areas, which they will address together – in order to actively contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our pledge for ocean stewardship – our plea to governments
The ten keystone actors participating in the second dialogue produced a joint statement focusing on advancing the SeaBOS initiative. This statement outlines the pledge from member companies and the areas to which they will now focus their work, as well as their plea to governments to address the many outstanding ocean challenges.
Scientific management of Japanese fisheries
Following the third dialogue, SeaBOS members highlighted the important work carried out by Japan to improve the scientific management of Japanese fisheries. SeaBOS members continue to prioritize the elimination of IUU fishing and modern slavery from their supply chains, e.g., through collaboration with the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability. Members pledge to further engage in collaboration with the Japanese government to facilitate implementation and enforcement of the revised Fishery Act.
Companies committed to the initiative
The initiative was joined by ten of the largest seafood companies in the world, including the two largest companies by revenues (Maruha Nichiro Corporation and Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd), two of the world’s largest tuna companies (Thai Union Group PCL and Dongwon Industries), the two largest salmon farmers (Mowi ASA and Cermaq – (subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation), the two largest aquafeeds companies (Skretting – subsidiary of Nutreco, and Cargill Aqua Nutrition), as well as the Japanese tuna purse seine company Kyokuyo and the agro-industrial conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods.
The Scientific background
The scientific starting point
The word “keystone actor” is inspired by the “keystone species” concept in ecology, developed by Professor Robert T. Paine. A scientific paper published in 2015 by Österblom, Jouffray, Folke et al. illustrates that the largest companies in a given industry can operate similarly to keystone species in ecological communities, meaning that they can have a disproportionate effect on the structure and function of the system in which they operate.
The Phuket Dialogue
Continued progress towards healthier oceans
The Phuket Dialogue was the fourth keystone Dialogue. This Stockholm Resilience Centre event was funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Inaugural Chair of SeaBOS, Shigeru Ito from Maruha Nichiro Corporation, described the fourth meeting, which took place in Phuket, Thailand, as increasing evidence of the benefits of collaboration between science and industry. Among the key outcomes, SeaBOS established a new task force on Climate Resilience, to address the key impacts of climate change on the seafood industry. The ten SeaBOS members also agreed to connect with invited experts to advance actions on reducing IUU fishing, eliminating forced labour, enhancing seafood traceability, and reducing antibiotics. Members identified the importance of urgently improving regulations associated with sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management, ocean pollution (including plastics) and climate change. A recently completed proof of concept study of traceability, organised and conducted by SeaBOS, illustrated important insights about how novel technologies can improve information flow in complex supply chains, and thereby reduce the risks associated with IUU fishing and labour abuse. The companies are now investigating how to take this to scale.
The Karuizawa Dialogue
From commitments to action
The Karuizawa Dialogue was the third keystone dialogue. This Stockholm Resilience Centre event was funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden participated in the dialogue with the SeaBOS member companies for the third time. The dialogue was hosted at the Prince Hotel West in Karuizawa, Japan. This keystone dialogue was supported by three scientific background briefs, to introduce results from surveys and interviews with SeaBOS member companies and extended supply chain members. The dialogue aimed for SeaBOS to move from commitments to action by formally establishing SeaBOS as an independent legal entity. SeaBOS members agreed on articles of association and a funding scheme, and appointed Mr Shigero Ito, CEO and President of Maruha Nichiro Corporation – the largest seafood company in the world, as the first chairman of the SeaBOS initiative. The next keystone dialogue is scheduled to take place in Bangkok in September 2019.
The Amersfoort Dialogue
The Amersfoort Dialogue was a working meeting between the SeaBOS member companies, primarily represented by operational staff, and the scientific team. This dialogue was funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and hosted by Nutreco at its headquarters in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. The meeting included preparation for the third keystone dialogue, scheduled for Karuizawa, Japan in September 2018, with a specific focus on advancing the work carried out in a number of Task Forces, developed to translate the SeaBOS commitments to operational activities among the member companies. The meeting was supported by two background briefs, providing additional scientific material to support the initiative and multiple additional material aimed to support SeaBOS members in their work.
The Stockholm Dialogue
Advancing the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship Initiative
The Stockholm Dialogue was the second keystone dialogue. This Stockholm Resilience Centre event was funded by the Walton Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin participated actively in the dialogue which was hosted at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The second keystone dialogue was supported by two background briefs, providing additional scientific material to support the initiative and the move towards more operational targets.
The Soneva Dialogue
Transformative Risks and Opportunities for the Global Seafood Industry
The Soneva Dialogue was the first keystone dialogue. This Stockholm Resilience Centre event was supported by Forum for the Future (FFTF) and the Soneva Foundation. The Walton Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation provided funding for the event. HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden acted as Patron for the Soneva Dialogue, which was generously hosted by Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, at their Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives. The first keystone dialogue was supported by nine background briefs, which together provided a starting point for the discussions.
Following the Stockholm Dialogue, several Task Forces have been organized to operationalize the priorities described in the statement. Each taskforce is led by SeaBOS members in collaboration with, and supported by, scientists at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and additional partners.
Task Force I: Addressing IUU and forced labour
The Task Force is investigating new ways to ensure that raw materials are sourced in a sustainable way, using the best available science. The focus is on ensuring that there are no IUU products or raw materials associated to forced labour in SeaBOS members’ supply chains. Existing and new data is collected and analysed to identify geographical areas of risk and vulnerable parts of global supply chains. Industry actions such as revising codes of conduct, engaging in voluntary actions, and revised auditing practices are explored.
Lead companies: Dongwon, Nutreco, Maruha Nichiro, and CP Foods with support from the Managing Director.
Lead scientific institutions: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stanford Centre for Ocean Solutions, University of Birmingham
Task Force II: Improving traceability in global seafood
The Task Force aims to promote and illustrate leadership and best practices in terms of traceability, including through cooperation with the ongoing Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability. The task force is engaged in advancing current approaches to traceability and are also piloting novel technologies to advance traceability.
Lead companies: Thai Union and Nutreco with support from the Managing Director
Lead scientific institution: Royal Swedish Academy of Science
Task Force III: Working with governments to improve regulations
The Task Force aims to develop the ability of SeaBOS members to engage in fisheries, aquaculture and related policy processes, to ensure they actively contribute to ocean stewardship. Current priorities include engaging with UN agencies to support their work on antibiotic resistance in aquaculture, social sustainability in wild capture fisheries and other ocean policy issues.
Lead companies: Cargill Aqua Nutrition, Nissui, Dongwon, and CP Foods with support from the Managing Director.
Lead scientific institution: Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Beijer Institute
Task Force IV: Transparency and Governance of SeaBOS
The Task Force will ensure that SeaBOS is an efficient organization that can make tangible progress towards ocean stewardship by clearly advancing the identified priorities. It will involve developing clear governance, staffing and funding mechanisms, as well as monitoring and tracking of progress, and communications.
Lead companies: Managing Director, with support from Cermaq and Nissui
Lead scientific institutions: Stockholm Resilience Centre and the University of Birmingham
Task Force V: Reducing plastic in seafood supply chains
The task force will ensure that SeaBOS members map the sources, presence and types of plastic in their seafood production. The task force will contribute to the development of a strategy, based on scientific knowledge, existing best practices and the frontiers of innovation.
Lead companies: Thai Union, Mowi, and Kyokuyo with support from the Managing Director
Lead scientific institutions: Stockholm Resilience Centre
Task Force VI: Climate Resilience
The Task Force will focus on global solutions to the impacts of climate change on sustainable seafood production, as well as the ability of seafood production for humanity, along with a healthy ocean, to play a role in the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change impacts.
Lead companies: Mowi, Maruha Nichiro, Cermaq, and Cargill Aqua Nutrition with support from the Managing Director.
Lead scientific institutions: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Royal Swedish Academy of Science and the Beijer Institute
Reflections on the SeaBOS initiative
Members committed to the initiative explain why it is important and how it will influence the rest of the seafood industry.