This year, the Conservation Alliance is proud to be celebrating ten years of collaborating to tackle seafood sustainability challenges together. In true Alliance fashion, we took the opportunity to celebrate with friends when we gathered at our annual Seafood Expo North America (SENA) kick-off reception in Boston last month. NGO, government, academic and industry partners joined us to reflect on past successes and importantly, look toward the future and the many more conservation wins still ahead of us.
Tobias Aguirre, CEO of FishWise and Conservation Alliance founding member, served as master of ceremonies for the event and welcomed special guest speakers and friends of the Alliance, Guy Dean, Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer of Albion Farms & Fisheries, and Marié Fukudome, Director of Environmental Affairs for Hyatt. The speakers remarked on the crowd of notable leaders from the sustainable seafood movement who joined us in celebration, Guy Dean pointing out, “…that was the point 10 years ago when the Alliance was created—to bring leaders together to tackle challenges that we otherwise couldn’t tackle alone. And by all measures, I believe the Alliance has been an overwhelming success.”
Reflecting on such a milestone, the Conservation Alliance certainly has a lot to be proud of. Demonstrated examples of our commitment to creating useful tools that are helping to lead the sustainable seafood movement forward include guidance documents like the Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood – providing tangible steps businesses can take to deliver on their sustainability commitments, and the Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) Guidelines —available in English, Spanish, and Japanese and providing the foundation of FisheryProgress.org, the one-stop shop for reliable information about FIP progress.
Dean and Fukudome can attest to the value of Conservation Alliance outputs for their respective companies. Albion’s rigorous sustainability plan is based on guidance outlined in the Common Vision, and the company relies on Fisheryprogress.org to help ensure their sourcing decisions are smart. Likewise, when Hyatt’s ambitious seafood sustainability initiative aiming to source at least 50% of its global volume from supply chains that are compliant with sustainability criteria developed with guidance from Alliance member, WWF, they were a first-mover in the hotel industry to set this kind of holistic goal.
Speaking at the SENA reception, Fukudome shared, “FisheryProgress.org has brought a tremendous amount of transparency and consistency. Information on a FIP can now be accessed in one place, regardless of where it is located or who manages it. If a project doesn’t meet the criteria, there is clarity behind that.” She additionally commended the platform team’s discussions around supporting non-English speakers, which will increase the tool’s global impact, saying, “I think there will be further opportunities in the sustainability field when multiple stakeholders and NGOs come together to support a uniform platform that provides standardized, clear, and actionable information.”
Fuelled by success stories like this, the Conservation Alliance continues to remain focused on the issues that will define sustainable seafood’s next decade. Aguirre closed the remarks by reminding the crowd who had gathered that evening of the Alliance’s founding premise in this message to our partners: “…no one can meet these and other pressing challenges alone. Even now, with over 40 organizations from around the world, we in the Alliance can’t do it alone either – that’s why we need you. Your partnership, your honest feedback, your smart ideas, and your commitment to collaboration have enabled the Alliance to make a real difference in its first decade.”
Indeed, the Alliance wishes to thank all our collaborators who have supported and joined us in driving the sustainable seafood movement forward over this past decade. We look forward to another ten years of collective action for our oceans and global humanity dependent on them.