Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sea Port’s New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussels Are Sustainability and Nutritional Superstars

The AquacultureNew Zealand organization believes that New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussels are one of the most environmentally friendly seafood protein sources available.  Sea Port’s own assessment supports this view and we graphically communicate this by way of our “Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum®” and our “Go Blue! Plate Choose My Seafood for Sustainability®”.
While New Zealand’s mussel aquaculture helps sustain and preserve the health of our oceans, actually eating the mussels helps sustain and advance our own personal health too.
·         Three times more iron than beef and a third of our daily protein needs in one serving
·         Three times our daily Vitamin B12 needs
·         100% of iodine and selenium (also a good source of other vitamins and minerals)
·         Contains over half the amount of Omega-3s as Sockeye Salmon (680mg)

  Enjoy These Sustainability and Nutritional Superstars Twice a Week!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sea Port attends Presidential Task Force meeting to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud
In Washington D.C. on August 18, Sea Port attended a meeting of a newly formed Presidential Task Force in order to offer advice on combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU) and seafood fraud in the U.S. marketplace. 

Sea Port was among a small but diverse group of seafood industry stakeholders that included fishing vessel owners, processors, distributors, retailers, and import/exporters.  The task force panel consisted of federal representatives from the Departments of State, Commerce, Defense, FDA, NOAA, USDA, and several other federal agencies associated with regulating our seafood.

President Obama directed this task force to formulate recommendations within 180 days for implementing a new comprehensive framework of programs to focus on the areas of greatest concern for the IUU and fraud problems occurring in the U.S. seafood marketplace.  To assist in completing their task, the panel wanted Sea Port and the group to define both the scope and the critical control points of these two distinct issues based on the perspective of our entire seafood industry.

The major points communicated to the Presidential Task Force by Sea Port and the seafood industry group:
Concerning IUU:

  • The scope of the IUU problem is relevant for less than 5% of the wild seafood we consume and of this amount, the vast majority is associated with the wild caught seafood that we import from foreign countries that are sorely in need of more effective wild fisheries management and enforcement schemes.

·         The critical control point to eliminate IUU is at the foreign source regardless if the seafood was caught within a country’s 200 mile EEZ or attained on international high seas by their distant-water fishing fleets.

Concerning Seafood Fraud:

  • The scope of the mislabeling of species fraud issue is most relevant at the critical control points located at restaurants and retailers.  The scope of the short weight (including full ingredients disclosure) fraud issue is relevant to the entire supply chain for both wild and farmed seafood.

Group advice offered to the Task Force for addressing the separate issues of IUU & and seafood fraud:

  • Combating IUU fishing requires the U.S. to be more engaged  internationally with foreign countries, the FAO, and regional fisheries organizations so responsible wild fisheries practices and enforcement mechanisms can be agreed upon that clearly defined the pathway toward eradicating IUU on both the high-seas and within all nation’s EEZs.  However, If our actions simply redirect IUU seafood away from the U.S. marketplace to other countries that still accept IUU, then we will have done very little to solve this foreign fishing problem that truly requires a cooperative global solution.
  • Initiating enhanced and robust efforts to enforce existing laws will very quickly produce dramatic improvements to the economic fraud issues of short weight, ingredient mislabeling, and species substitution in the U.S. marketplace. 

Sea Port’s Opinion on the Most Important Takeaways from the Presidential Task Force:  

  1. FDA enforcement against “short weight” may soon be greatly enhanced and expanded and this may result in significant negative consequences for seafood companies that still engage in this type of seafood fraud.
  2. Success in combating IUU fishing may soon advance due to heightening levels of U.S. international cooperation and new forthcoming initiatives to share proven U.S. fisheries management and enforcement schemes with the rest of the world.
Please don't be shy about leaving comments..........Sincerely, Dave

Monday, September 8, 2014

The  world availability of freshwater will be crucial for aquaculture to fulfill its promise to produce an additional 40 million tons of seafood that we will need by the year 2030

Currently 62% of our farmed seafood comes from freshwater and 8% from a mix of salt and freshwater (brackish water).  Lumping these together shows that 70% of our worldwide aquaculture production is dependent upon freshwater.

Over the past several years, the growth in freshwater aquaculture has been increasing at a faster rate than that of marine (salt-water) aquaculture production systems.

Critical points to ponder going forward:
  • With an additional billion of us coming in 2030, will there be less freshwater available for aquaculture? 
  • Will climate change make less or more freshwater available?
  • Will groundwater and watershed resources be properly utilized and sustained for the next billion of us coming by the year 2050?
Currently less than 0.007% of Earth’s water is freshwater that we can utilize!  This shows how precious and limited it is for providing for our health, industry, agriculture, and aquaculture.

There is an ever-increasing  global issue of freshwater availability and an example close to home is California’s recently passed legislation to confront the state’s water crisis.

Freshwater will soon become the new “gold” of the 21st century as the world confronts the constraints of a dwindling supply compared to a growing demand.

Aquaculture’s future success to feed another billion of us by the year 2030 is inextricably bound to the availability of freshwater.

Please let us know your thoughts on this and any other issues affecting our seafood industry.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Striped Pangasius Advancing along Sea Port’s
 Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum

Three years ago Sea Port conducted a sustainability assessment for Striped Pangasius in order to reveal the existing and potential environmental impacts and risks that were associated with its farming practices.  This allowed us to establish its starting position along our progressive Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum.  This assessment was only a single snapshot in time; therefore, we are continually evaluating all the sustainability determinants and moving the needle along the spectrum to reflect both the positive and negative developments.  Sea Port is excited to announce that the Striped Pangasius needle is advancing toward improved sustainability.

Rationale for this decision:

  •  An increased number of farms have achieved certification under ASC, BAP, GlobalG.A.P. and other sustainable practices programs in Vietnam and in other Asian countries.

  • The Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Global Aquaculture Alliance, and GlobalG.A.P. are actively cooperating to streamline and standardize the sustainability criteria in order to make it more feasible for small family farms to attain certifications.

Please celebrate this good news by eating Striped Pangasius for your next seafood meal


Monday, July 28, 2014

To:  The United States Environmental Protection Agency

RE:  Protecting the Bristol Bay Watershed in Alaska

Sea Port supports the recent Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to protect the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska from the activities of the proposed open pit Pebble Mine.

Last year Sea Port submitted comments urging the EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to prohibit mining activities in this watershed to protect its unique and abundant natural salmon runs.  We are pleased that the EPA subsequently used the best available science to conclude that the negative economic, environmental, and social impacts of large-scale open pit mining activities far outweigh any benefits.  We applaud the EPA’s conclusion that the abundant renewable fishery resources stemming from the pristine productive capacity of the Bristol Bay watershed accrue much greater long-term benefits for both present and future generations of Alaskans and our nation.

While Sea Port concurs with the EPA’s assessment, we would like to augment it by voicing our concerns that there may be negative unintended consequences that could occur internationally if major mining activities are allowed to proceed in the Bristol Bay watershed:

  • Alaska and our national fishery management practices are currently internationally recognized as the best for sustainably managing wild fishery stocks.  Allowing the Pebble mining activities could severely tarnish this reputation and undermine our credibility in this regard.

  • Allowing the Pebble Mine could send the message to the world that the negative impacts due to nonrenewable mineral extraction are preferable over safeguarding renewable wild fisheries for future generations.

  • Developing nations with vast mineral and wild fishery resources may conclude that if Alaska and the United States can choose very lucrative but short-term mining benefits over the long-term benefits of productive wild food resources, then it must be acceptable for them to do likewise.

For years, both Alaska and our nation, through the efforts of NOAA, have actively promoted and taught the best responsible fishery management practices to the rest of the world.  Let us not now be guilty of that old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Sea Port respectfully requests that the EPA remain resolute and confident in their conclusion that large-scale mining activities are not appropriate in the Bristol Bay watershed of Alaska.  U.S. Senator Mark Begich from Alaska succinctly expresses our viewpoint, “Wrong mine, wrong place, too big.”

Sincerely yours,

David Glaubke, Directory of Sustainability Initiatives

Sea Port Products Corporation
Support the World’s Small Family Shrimp Farmers that are not yet certified

Seafood Watch lists BAP 2-Star, Naturland, and ASC certified farmed shrimp as “Good Alternatives”.
This recent consumer advisory rating by the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a very positive milestone for worldwide shrimp farmers as they continue to improve their sustainable aquaculture practices.

However, there is a concern, over 80% of the global shrimp growers consist of small family farms that are not yet certified under any of these sustainability schemes.  If consumers, chefs, retailers, and wholesalers all of a sudden start to refuse to purchase non-certified farmed shrimp, then these small family shrimp farmers may struggle to survive. The financial, logistical, and technical constraints are just too daunting for the small family shrimp farmer to quickly gain certification under any one of these aforementioned sustainability schemes. 

The proper course of action is to wholeheartedly embrace and celebrate the advent of certified farmed shrimp while concurrently supporting the vast majority of the shrimp producers who are small family farmers that currently lack such certifications.  It is incumbent that we understand that the sustainability advancements needed by the small family shrimp farmer will take time and that they need our encouragement and support.  The best way we can show support is to consume their shrimp even though they have not yet achieved certification.
On a global basis, actions to improve aquaculture practices at family shrimp farms are currently being initiated by independent groups outside of any formal certification scheme.  An example of this recently happened on the Philippine island of Mindanao.  In addition, just recently, the Global Aquaculture Alliance has acknowledged the need to embrace the small family shrimp farmers of the world and has instituted a collaborative program to offer groups of farmers, who share the same watersheds or aquifers, a more economical path to certification.  

Small family farms that produce traditional terrestrial crops and livestock as well as those engaged in aquaculture such as shrimp, play major roles in promoting global food security, economic opportunity, agro-biodiversity, and the stewardship of our natural environment. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in designating 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming stated, “Family farmers hold the unique potential to move towards more productive and sustainable food systems if policy environments support them in this path.”

Please do your part in supporting the family shrimp farmers by continuing to eat their production.  This will help assure their financial survival as they continue to improve their sustainable aquaculture practices.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Update:  Sea Port and the Seafood Nutrition Partnership continue to work together to increase the U.S. per capita consumption of seafood

Sea Port attended a Seafood Nutrition Partnership  meeting called by their Executive Director, Linda Cornish, which took place recently in Seattle, Washington.  Sea Port was part of a diverse group of seafood companies, fishing companies, universities, federal fishery managers, and powerful philanthropic foundations who shared the common  goal to convince American consumers to eat a diverse variety of seafood at least two times a week.

At the meeting, the best available science on the health benefits of eating seafood at a minimum of twice a week  was reviewed.  The science showed that at such a consumption level, the health of newborns, children, young adults, and senior citizens would be greatly enhanced.

Currently our per capita consumption of seafood is approximately 14.4 pounds, which is roughy half the recommended consumption level.  If we followed the advice of our USDA and FDA to eat seafood twice a week, we could quickly increase that level to over 20#/year!  Such a modification in our diets would produce profound positive health benefits for our nation.

Meeting highlights:

·         Sea Port suggested that an Ad campaign be initiated that would coin a phrase such as  “20 by 20”, “Seafood 20/20”, or “20 by 2020” that would be used as the rallying cry to advance the U.S. per capita consumption of seafood to 20 pounds by the year 2020

·         Others mentioned that the fearfulness and lack of knowledge about how to cook seafood needs to be addressed with heightened educational efforts

·         It was also mentioned that 75% of seafood is consumed at the restaurant/foodservice level and that we need to work even harder with this food sector to drive increased consumption

·         Others mentioned that increasing sustainable seafood consumption actually increases the health of our environment and that this should be emphasized  as part of the campaign

The passion about the health benefits of seafood ran thick throughout the meeting.  This passion was especially evident with two of the more high profile attendees, former NBA star Detlef Schrempf and Captain Keith Colburn from the “Deadliest Catch”.

Please leave any suggestions you may have on how we can all better work together to increase our seafood consumption.   We would love to hear from you.

Sincerely, Dave Glaubke