Monday, November 23, 2015

Prohibiting the discard of certain bycatch may be in the future for U.S. marine fisheries managed by NOAA

In recent years, nations (other than the U.S.), have taken steps to prohibit the discarding of marine fishery bycatch.  The amount of seafood discarded back into the oceans from fishing vessels worldwide is approximately 10% of the total annual catch with the trawl fisheries for shrimp and demersal finfish accounting for over 50% of the discards (these two types of fishing methods represent approximately 22% of the total annual worldwide catch).

Canada, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and the EU have implemented actions to prohibit the discarding of certain bycatch in their marine fisheries management plans.

While the U.S. has not yet taken actions to implement similar fishery management plans prohibiting discards, NOAA has recently released a draft Action Plan for Fish Release Mortality Science.  In the simplest of terms, part of NOAA’s draft action plan is to determine which bycatch species cannot survive after being discarded back into the sea.

By doing so, NOAA may identify a seafood resource that can be utilized and therefore not wasted.  If this happens, the U.S. will join with other nations in not wasting a valuable marine source of protein that can be used directly for human consumption or indirectly by being utilized for feedstocks for both aquaculture and agriculture.

The bottom line is that in a hungry world with an expanding population, it is unconscionable to waste a food resource such as bycatch that stands little chance of surviving as discards.

Not wasting the wondrous bounty from our seas is definitely a sustainability goal that all nations of the world need to support.

Now is the time for international cooperation to reduce bycatch and fully utilize seafood species that cannot survive as discards.

Such cooperation needs to address fisheries in both EEZs and on the high seas.

A world population that is expanding toward 10 billion by the year 2050 needs to incorporate actions to eliminate food waste as part of their food security strategy.  Prohibiting certain fishery discards should be a part of such action plans.

Hopefully NOAA will implement in the near future some sort of discard ban to prevent seafood waste based on the best science and conscience.

Sincerely yours,
David Glaubke
Director of Sustainability Initiatives
Sea Port Products Corp.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Sea Port Crew Helps Celebrate October National Seafood Month by Taking the Healthy Heart Pledge to Improve Their Omega-3 Levels

To help celebrate October National Seafood Month,  Sea Port employees have taken the Healthy Heart Pledge sponsored by the Seafood Nutrition Partnership and have submitted  their Omega-3 Index test kits that measure the two omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in their red blood cells.

If the Omega-3 tests reveal low index levels, those Sea Port employees will commit to eating seafood at least twice a week for four months.  After 4 months, they will re-take the Omega-3 index test to determine if they have succeeded in raising their Omega-3 levels.

Please join us in celebrating the amazing and unique health benefits of seafood by taking the Healthy Heart Pledge and by ordering your Omega-3 Index test kit today.

Your commitment to eat seafood at least twice a week and to discover your Omega-3 Index will go a long way toward improving and ensuring your personal cardiovascular health!

Go Blue ! – For Our Health – For Our Environment – For Sustainability

Sincerely, Dave Glaubke, Sea Port’s Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

An Emerging Global Information System Will Dramatically Improve the Management of Worldwide Marine Living Resources

The world’s explosive exponential growth in the sheer volume of data (information) that is becoming instantaneously available along with ever-improving search and analytical tools will drive rapid and unprecedented advances in humanity’s ability to sustainably utilize our marine living resources.  The timing of this emerging Global Information System will greatly aid us as we face a rapidly changing global climate and an ever-increasing world population that both severely constrain the sustainability of our marine living resources.

Aspects of this emerging Global Information System:

·         We are now in the era of “Big Data” in which human knowledge is more than doubling every 12 months and as crazy as it sounds, this doubling will happen every 12 hours as our Earth becomes covered with ubiquitous high-tech sensors as the “internet of things (IoT)” expands.  Please see our past blog about these high-tech sensors and their relationship to fishery management.  
·         Advances in algorithms and artificial intelligence driven by software programs and ever-increasing computer power (keep an eye out for future quantum computing)  are rapidly expanding our ability to utilize this massive tsunami of data to enable the following  actions:
                    - react in real time to changing conditions
                    - better predict and anticipate coming changes & mitigate “black swan” events
                    - formulate more efficient action plans that consider the unintended consequences of our
                      decisions (that can produce the both negative and positive feedback loops)
The main take-aways for our seafood industry:

·         Better overall efficiency in fishery management that will finally address discards and waste
·         Better control of IUU fishing and seafood fraud
·         Better control of human rights abuses on the high seas and within foreign countries
·         Better fishery stock information provided to developing nations enabling improve sustainability    

In short, the most amazing aspect going forward may be our utter awe at the incredibly rapid pace of change caused by this new era of “Big Data”.  Not only will our seafood industry be impacted but also every aspect of our personal lives.  Let us all bravely embrace the positive tools that will be to our avail to drive a more sustainable and just future for all the citizen of our beautiful blue planet.

Go Blue! - For Our Environment - For Sustainability - For Our Health


David Glaubke, Director of Sustainability Initiatives  

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sea Port’s Letter to Congress Regarding the Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and Suggesting How We Can Both Protect and Modernize it for the 21st Century

RE: Sea Port’s view on HR 1335 and a suggestion for modernizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act for the 21st century

HR 1335: Sea Port has concerns that the tone, in a portion of this bill, in regards to adding flexibility in dealing with negative socioeconomic impacts to fishing communities does not resonate with the principles contained within National Standard 1, which we believe, is the cornerstone of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Sea Port believes that the MSA has become a resounding success because the focus has been on improving the health of the fish stocks and that this success was made possible by the application of best fishery science practices that were free from the constraints of non-scientific flexibility schemes and undue political influences designed to prop up fishing communities.

This late Senator Stevens quote from a 2000 subcommittee hearing on oceans and fisheries can serve as a seminal reminder for us today that we must continue to keep our focus on protecting the fish stocks from which we know all good catches flow:  “I do think that it’s incumbent upon the people in the fishery, without regard to whether you’re historical or not, to protect the species. …….I just wish I’d hear a little bit more about protecting the species rather than protecting the heritage of the fishermen.”

Sea Port believes that the following quote by Dr. Bill Hogarth,  former NOAA assistant administrator for fisheries, serves to highlight Magnuson-Stevens’ success that was achieved by keeping true to the overriding principles in National Standard 1:  “Based on the actions of the fishery management councils, it appears that the U.S. has fundamentally ended overfishing in federally-managed domestic fisheries.  This is an enormous achievement, and one that, Congress and the Administration clearly intended in its 2007 reauthorization of [the MSA]….The Magnuson-Stevens Act is without doubt the premier fisheries law in the world.”

Please stay on the successful course of the MSA by continuing to safeguard National Standard 1’s immunity from being trumped by socioeconomic or political pressures.

Modernizing the MSA for the 21st century by creating “National Standard 11 – Aquaculture”

Sea Port believes that this Congress and Administration should boldly seize the opportunity to modernize Magnuson-Stevens by codifying the importance of aquaculture within the MSA list of National Standard principles by adding a new “National Standard 11 – Aquaculture”.  We must face the reality that aquaculture provides nearly 70% of America’s most commonly consumed seafood, wild harvest levels are essentially maxed out, and as our world population explodes to nearly 10 billion by 2050, the additional protein needed will predominantly come from aquaculture.  Aquaculture will become super critical for our national food security.

We believe future generations will look back and thank you for your foresight in recognizing the need to establish a new “National Standard 11 – Aquaculture” and how it paved the way for our wild fishery stocks and aquaculture to harmoniously and sustainably provide us with one of the most healthy food proteins on the planet!

Please go make bipartisan history and thank you for your consideration of Sea Port’s perspectives.

David Glaubke, Director of Sustainability Initiatives 
Sea Port Products Corp.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Possible Positives for Wild Fisheries and Aquaculture Coming From a CO2 Fertilization Effect Due to Our Planet’s Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide?

This spring, NOAA announced that for the first time since they have been tracking the carbon dioxide level in the global atmosphere that the monthly average concentration of this greenhouse gas has surpassed 400 parts per million.  In the announcement, they stated that this marks the fact that our burning of fossil fuels has caused this and that half of this man-made increase has occurred just since 1980!

Sea Port has blogged in the past about how human caused global climate change driven by an increasing CO2 level may be the ultimate upcoming challenge to sustainably managing wild fisheries and aquaculture. However disconcerting the news announced by NOAA is, we should open our eyes to the possibility that positive environmental consequences may spring forth from this elevated CO2 level that the seafood industry could possibly benefit from. 

Possible Positives for Wild Fisheries and Aquaculture Due to CO2 Fertilization
of Terrestrial and Aquatic Plant Life

•   An increasing CO2 concentration when combined with adequate fresh water, light, temperature,
     physical space and availability of nutrients may cause dramatic increases in terrestrial plant
     growth and its expansion into nontraditional areas of the globe resulting in:
        -  possible increased production of crops for human consumption and for livestock/aquaculture

        - possible increased plant production in existing and new emerging grazing areas for livestock
          that may reduce the need for using fishmeal and fish oil as supplemental livestock feeds

•  An increasing CO2 concentration may result in more beneficial oceanic phytoplankton that may
    increase the base of the marine food chain resulting in:

        -  increased production of aquatic organisms higher up the marine food chain that may increase
           certain wild fishery stocks providing greater harvests for our benefit

        -  increased wild and farmed micro and macro algae that humans could consume directly or use
           as feeds for livestock and aquaculture

In Summary:  In our new Anthropocene Epoch, humankind has markedly, factually, and rapidly increased the atmospheric CO2 concentration according to NOAA.  However, our seafood industry may not want to exclusively dwell on the negatives of climate change such as increasing temperatures, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification. Our seafood industry should ready itself to rapidly adapt and prosper from any possible positives that may manifest themselves due to the increasing of atmospheric CO2.  While we all strive to reduce our global emissions of greenhouse gases, let us not ignore the possible positives for wild fisheries and aquaculture that may come from a potential CO2 fertilization effect.  


David Glaubke – Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review, Update & Comments on the Presidential Task Force to Combat IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud

Last August, Sea Port went to Washington, D.C. to attend the first Presidential Task Force meeting to combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing (IUU) and seafood fraud.   Sea Port was one of several seafood industry representatives that were asked to offer their perspectives regarding the need for the Federal Government to greatly expand regulations and enforcement schemes to eliminate IUU fishing and seafood fraud.
Update:  Since last August, the Presidential Task Force has transitioned to the National Ocean Council under a newly established standing Committee on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud.  In March of this year, a multiyear action plan was released listing major milestones to be accomplished by December 2016 regarding establishing international agreements, enhanced enforcement schemes, private sector partnerships, and a comprehensive traceability system to aggressively combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud.   The committee is asking for public input concerning their plan until June 8th.  Sea Port has recently participated in two committee public webinars.  During the most recent of May 12th, the committee was asked to identify specific at-risk species that they will target with their newly announced action plan.  They responded that this determination would be made in July.


-  The seafood industry will be ready to provide the committee with more meaningful inputs once they reveal their list of at-risk species for IUU fishing and seafood fraud

-  The committee should be aware that preventing IUU caught seafood from entering the U.S. may simply result in its redirection to other countries that still accept IUU.  Long-term action plans addressing this predominantly foreign fishing problem at all the overseas sources should be the ultimate goal

-  The committee should also entertain the possibility that by concentrating on blocking all short weight  or mislabeled seafood from entering our country, they just may accomplish advancements on the IUU fishing front too because honest weights/proper labeling are predominantly associated with ethical and law abiding seafood companies that do not engage in IUU fishing

Looking Forward:  Sea Port looks forward to updating again once the committee reveals specifically what species it initially plans to target in its Presidential directive to boldly combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud.  Stay tuned.


David Glaubke, Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To help preserve our wild oceans, modern aquaculture will continue its transition away from using marine fishmeal and fish oil as feed ingredients.
Environmentalists have long championed safeguarding our natural marine living resources from the damages caused by our relentless efforts to feed our growing world population.  They do not ever want to see our oceans succumb to what our lands have become where wild animal and plant populations can no longer provide us with food and where we have become critically dependent upon a very limited variety of domesticated plants and animals for our survival.

Simply put, environmentalists want to preserve the diverse wild state of our oceans that truly represent Earth’s last remaining great natural ecosystems that can provide significant quantities of wild foods for our continued survival.

However, wild marine fisheries are maxed out and can only supply about 50% of our current seafood needs.  Aquaculture currently supplies the other 50% and will be responsible for satisfying all of our future needs as our population explodes to 10 billion people by the year 2050.

To meet the world’s future seafood demands, the aquaculture industry will need to assure that there is a constantly growing supply of environmentally sustainable feed ingredients to fuel its ever-expanding growth.  Over 70% of our farmed seafood is currently dependent upon artificial feed formulations.  Without the constantly increasing availability of aquacultural feeds, our global system of farming our most favorite seafoods such as salmon, shrimp, tilapia, and pangasius will collapse.

Aquaculture today still depends upon fishmeal and fish oil rendered from wild marine forage fisheries such as anchovies, menhaden, and Antarctic krill to help satisfy its need for suitable nutritional feeds.  Ever since aquaculture production exploded worldwide in the eighties, environmentalists have voiced their concerns about whether it makes sense to feed wild fish to farmed fish.  For many years the aquaculture feed industry has been confronting this concern by continually striving to reduce its use of wild sourced marine fishmeal and fish oil.

Here is a look at the progress made so far and to what the future may hold:

1. Starting in the early nineties and continuing to today, the aquaculture feed industry started reducing the amount of  fishmeal  and fish oil by substituting sources from livestock byproducts (e.g. Chicken bones, feathers, scraps), grains such as soybeans, and by recovering trimmings from seafood processing and even lately, adding omega 3 fatty acids from GMO yeasts!  Since the nineties, the use of marine derived fishmeal and fish oil has generally been reduced by 60-70%.

2. Looking forward, rapidly developing feed technologies harnessing the ability of microbes, algae, and even insects to provide high quality proteins and fatty acids will further help reduce the amount of wild fish ingredients used in aquacultural feed formulations.

Conclusions:  The initial concerns of environmentalists about feeding wild fish to farmed fish are steadily fading away as new feed technologies advance to assure aquaculture can continue its explosive growth fueled by environmentally sustainable feed sources.  Aquaculture is certainly doing its part in helping to preserve our wild oceans;  Earth’s last great natural ecosystems that still have the remarkable ability to provide us with bountiful wild foods.

Go Blue! For Our Environment – For Sustainability – For Our Health

David Glaubke, Director of Sustainability Initiatives
Sea Port Products Corp.