Industry state of play
The exponential rise in the global population, allied with economic development and the acceleration of urbanization, is rapidly elevating the demand for high-quality foods and in particular proteins. Aquatic foods —derived from marine animals, plants, and algae— represent an incredible opportunity to help meet this increasing demand, but the industry faces multiple crossroads, balancing global demand with ecological sustainability and climate action. Presently, over 90% of aquatic food systems are facing substantial risks posed by environmental changes, particularly in high-stakes regions like Asia, Latin America, and Africa, where most of the growth opportunities for the sector will need to be realized to meet global protein and nutrients demand in the future.
Overfishing remains a critical issue; it jeopardizes marine ecosystems and the livelihoods dependent on them; 30 to 35% of seafood is either lost or discarded post harvest. Aquaculture is a growing alternative, but comes with its own set of environmental, health and economic challenges; antibiotic use, feed sourcing, and waste management. While climate change poses a significant threat to aquatic ecosystems, these very systems also offer promising solutions to the climate crisis.
Sustainable Seafood Track
The Sustainable Seafood track has had great success with the recent release of the Setting Science-Based Targets in the Seafood Sector: Best Practices to Date (2022, report). The guide is a collection of best practices, common challenges, solutions and experiences from the seafood sector to support companies to set a science-based emission reduction target with the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). As the seafood sector works towards a low carbon and sustainable future, collective action across geographies and supply chains will be key to reaching these goals.
The group consists of representatives from Thai Union, Lerøy Seafood, Cargill, FAO, Grieg Seafood, Planet Tracker, Stockholm Resilience Center, Nutreco, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Hilton Food Group, Nueva Pescanova, Aker BioMarine, Cermaq, Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), World Wildlife Fund, SeaBos. After the publication of the report, the group is exploring opportunities to further develop and advance the Sustainable Seafood Track.