In accordance with our Endangered Species Strategy, SeaBOS members have agreed to conduct rigorous internal due diligence to identify and understand their exposure to risks related to endangered species. We prioritize engaging with science-based best practices and continuously innovate to mitigate these risks. Our collaborative approach extends beyond our operations to include our supply chains and other industry actors. Through these strategic efforts, we are working towards science-based operational measures that substantially reduce the risk of harm to endangered elasmobranch and seabird species.
SeaBOS´ ambition is to align its work with global biodiversity goals and standards, including the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and work to develop and implement best practices in seafood production.
SeaBOS companies are collaborating on significant projects and fostering innovative efforts to safeguard biodiversity. Ongoing projects include mangrove restoration projects led by Thai Union and CP Foods in Thailand, eelgrass restoration in Japan by Maruha Nichiro and Cermaq’s mussel and kelp restoration projects in Chile and Norway.
Specifically, Thai Union has committed to no deforestation in their operations and has partnered with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) to enhance transparency in their supply chains. Through this partnership, they conduct bycatch audits and ensure.
Skretting mitigates risks in its supply chain by working with certification bodies and interacting with other stakeholders like the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and Global Roundtable on Marine Ingredients.
Maruha Nichiro is engaged in eelgrass bed restoration in Tokyo Bay and collaborates with SeaBOS and BirdLife to monitor the biodiversity of marine products.
CP Foods conducts biodiversity risk screening using the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) to manage their operations near key biodiversity areas, while Cermaq uses the IUCN Red List to catalogue endangered species in their operation areas, actively rejecting suppliers that violate their Code of Conduct.
Cargill pushes for ecosystem-based fisheries management. They increasingly source certified marine ingredients, and support credible FIPs to improve fisheries not yet managed to maximize biodiversity protection.
Seafood production is directly dependent on, and can fundamentally aﬀect, the functioning of ecosystems. Species such as sharks, seabirds and rays are critically important for aquatic foodchains, but their populations have declined sharply. Currently, 31% of all seabird species are globally threatened according to the IUCN Red List, and almost half of all species have declining populations. Similarly, shark and ray populations in tropical, subtropical and oceanic ecosystems have declined by over 75% and 71%, respectively. For oceanic sharks, these declines have been attributed to an 18-fold increase in ﬁshing pressure, while entanglement in ﬁshing gear remains the single greatest threat to sea turtles. Long-term studies of albatross species in the south Atlantic Ocean indicate that ﬁsheries are the primary driver of 40-60% population declines, and the extinction risk for sharks and rays exceeds that of any other category calculated by the IUCN Red List.
The seafood industry has the power to do something about this challenge, and previous work to reduce negative impacts on seabirds illustrates that concerted eﬀorts can generate signiﬁcant results. Implementation of bycatch regulations in the Namibian hake ﬁshery, for instance, reduced albatross mortality by 94%. Understanding risks, engaging with high-risk areas, and spreading knowledge about what works, can ensure that best practices are used, normalized, and legislated. Participating in regional initiatives to identify Important Shark and Ray Areas (ISRAs) and supporting the implementation of corresponding management measures will encourage and rapidly normalize uptake of best practice. Moving beyond elasmobranchs and seabirds to other threatened species will be critical for ensuring the resilience of marine ecosystems and seafood operations.
In 2021, SeaBOS members established a strategy for addressing negative impacts on endangered species. The ﬁrst step was to establish a scientiﬁc assessment of best practices, published in 2022. SeaBOS companies started to report on risks and impacts on endangered species in 2023 and is developing its risk management approaches. Joint eﬀorts will continue going forward.
Fishing companies in the Nissui Group have introduced a variety of measures to prevent the bycatch of seabirds. These include Tori lines (as shown above) – a device that prevents birds from approaching the bait by towing a rope to which streamers and tapes are attached. Other measures include using baﬄers (a metal scarecrow) to scare birds away, weights to lower towing lines from bird ﬂight paths; trawling at night when fewer birds are around; managing oﬀal onboard to avoid attracting birds; and, having a bycatch reduction management plan for every vessel.
Contributing to the elimination of IUU fishing and forced labour in seafood production, and mitigating the impacts on endangered species.
Healthy ocean ecosystems and rich biodiversity are vital components of ocean stewardship. This Task Force focuses on developing practices that minimize impacts of seafood production on endangered species, and to develop solutions that enhance marine ecosystems.
To work with governments towards sustainable seafood production, as well as mechanisms to reduce antibiotics in aquaculture.
To identify 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.