The world’s oceans are in trouble, and nine of the biggest fishing firms recently decided to help. They’re banding together in a voluntary initiative to fight problems like overfishing, which is rapidly depleting the oceans of fish. They’ll also target issues like pollution and the use of slave labor.


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The initiative, known as the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS), is backed by the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The companies committed to boosting transparency to reduce illegal fishing in the supply chain, as well as avoiding products obtained through slave labor. They’ll also focus on plastic pollution and greenhouse gases. The Guardian reported it’s the first time companies from the United States, Europe, and Asia have come together to work towards such goals.

Related: The world’s fish are vanishing far faster than previously thought

Stockholm Resilience Centre deputy science director Henrik Osterblöm told The Guardian, “Sustainable marine ecosystems will be essential to feed a growing population, but the oceans are at risk. Seafood makes up 20 percent of the global intake of animal protein.”

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Among the nine companies are the two biggest companies in terms of revenue, Maruha Nichiro Corporation and Nippon Suisan Kaisha. The two biggest salmon companies, two biggest tuna companies, and two biggest aquafeeds companies also signed, according to the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

The organization initiated the conversation, inviting 13 corporations that control 11 to 16 percent of wild marine catch and 40 percent of valuable species. Osterblöm said the center was excited so many companies did show up and agree to the initiative.

According to The Guardian, it’s estimated around half of the world’s catch comes from illegal fishing – those fisherman either trespass into waters, use illegal gear, or catch more fish than they’re supposed to, sometimes even catching endangered fish. Slavery has also marred the industry; an investigation in 2014 found exploitation and loss of human rights was rampant in parts of fishing grounds in Asia.

Announcing the initiative is part of the United Nations Ocean Conference this week.

Via The Guardian

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