Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beef prices at 28-year high:  An opportunity for increasing U.S. seafood consumption?
Recently the USDA announced that beef prices (adjusted for inflation) are at the highest levels since 1987.  This is a wonderful opportunity for the U.S. per capita consumption of seafood to advance.  U.S. seafood consumption has declined each year since 2006 and now may be the perfect opportunity to reverse this trend!   

Actions we can all initiate and support to take advantage of this opportunity:

·         Champion competitively priced seafood products

·         Champion consistent quality and consumer friendly value added products

·         Strongly promote the essential nutritional aspects that are unique to seafood

·         Push seafood as the most environmentally sustainable animal protein in the world

With historically high beef prices and near record price levels for pork and chicken, the seafood industry has a great opportunity to gain more recognition as the healthiest and most environmentally sustainable animal protein on the planet.  There may be no better time than now to promote the U.S. consumption of seafood!

Please share your ideas how we can all work together to advance the U.S. per capita consumption of seafood.     

Sincerely, Dave Glaubke

Director of Sustainability Issues

Monday, April 7, 2014

A New Era of Ubiquitous High-Tech Sensors Will Transform Sustainable Seafood Practices and Policies

We already have an enormous number of sensors in our homes, cars, cities, rural areas, oceans, and even high overhead in satellites that measure a myriad of factors such as temperature, pressure, light, sound, chemical composition, movement, radiation, and even gravity!  However, we are now entering a new era where sensors will have much more advanced capabilities, be smaller and cheaper, and be deployed everywhere.  This brave new world will be forever filled with billions and billions of sensors that will monitor and collect vast amounts of data about every aspect of our lives from our personal health to changes in our natural environment. 

While this new era of ubiquitous sensors will have both negative and positive ramifications, it will certainly be overwhelmingly positive for the advancement of sustainable seafood production.  The old adage that you cannot improve something if you cannot measure it, certainly holds true for all aspects of our seafood sustainability goals and aspirations.  This highly advanced sensor-filled world will transform current sustainable seafood practices and policies as we struggle to confront the rapidly occurring man-made changes of global warming, ocean acidification, and aquatic eutrophication that so severely impact both wild fisheries and aquaculture.  

In this new era, these sensors will produce huge quantities of data as they monitor not only fishery and aquaculture biomasses, but also their surrounding environmental parameters.   These specifically targeted sensor data will have unprecedented utility because spatial, temporal, compositional, and behavioral measurements will have a never before seen degree of accuracy and relevancy.   This flow of data will be in real-time, as this sensor-filled world will be connected instantaneously by the “internet of things” (IoT).  Just as amazing as this, there will be the computer power and data methods available to analyze this vast number of measurements to discover never before seen correlations between fisheries, their environment, and the demand parameters placed upon fisheries and aquaculture for our sustenance.  Armed with these new enhanced real-time data, fishery and aquaculture practices and policies will become much more responsive and predictive in nature. 

Technologically advanced real-time optical, sonic, and GPS sensors will monitor all the lifecycle stages of fishery biomasses and farmed seafood.  In addition, real-time monitoring of fishing vessels’ catch compositions, quantities, locations, discards, and habitat and endangered species impacts will become the norm and will greatly reduce the need for onboard observers.  Sensor use in aquaculture will become affordable and instrumental in advancing best practices to maximize input efficiencies, animal health, and to reduce effluents and other negative environmental impacts.

These new era sensors will become smaller and more robust.  They will routinely be hitching rides on the bodies of wild and farmed fish, ocean currents, fishing gear, pond surfaces, and on many yet unimagined substrates.  Miniature lens-less cameras, sonic, and other sensors will be better able to map the oceans’ plankton abundance in real-time.  This will provide insights into how man-made changes in the biogeochemical and geophysical parameters of Earth affect this foundational link in the marine food chain.  These insights will help transform sustainable seafood practices and policies to embrace a much more holistic perspective.  This will help bring to light the absolute need to confront the growing problems of global warming, ocean acidification, and aquatic eutrophication in order to protect the future of both wild fisheries and aquaculture.
This new era of ubiquitous sensors will help broaden our current concept of individual ecosystem approaches to fisheries and aquaculture management to an even more enhanced holistic perspective based on the entire biosphere approach.  Nothing helps explains this broader concept better than to simply observe how the two biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen have been thrown off-kilter by our massive production of CO2, by the burning of fossil fuels, and by our massive production of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.  These two human activities are unfortunately increasing global warming, ocean acidification and aquatic eutrophication.  However, the burning of fossil fuels and the production of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers have been absolutely monumental in the course of human history because they have made it possible for over 7 billion of us to be alive today (2 billion of us in 1930).  These two transformative technological accomplishments have also allowed us to enjoy never before seen high levels of wellbeing.  In this coming sensor-filled world, high-tech sensors will be monitoring all the critical points along the carbon and nitrogen recycling pathways.  By doing so, they will detect changes in a vast variety of variables such as ocean pH and eutrophication levels in real-time. These highly advanced and cost effective sensors will further help usher in this more holistic concept of the biosphere approach to sustainable and responsible seafood production.

Massive amounts of sensor data will also be collected in real-time from the geophysical processes of weather, ocean circulation, volcanos, seismology, rising sea levels (due to global warming), and from multiple points along the global hydrologic cycle.    These additional data will further help drive acceptance of the holistic concept that Earth’s biogeochemical and geophysical processes, that humans can indeed throw off-kilter, are the ultimate determinants of the future of sustainable seafood production.

This coming new era of high-tech ubiquitous sensors will help foster the creation of tools and policies that will aggressively work to correct, mitigate, and prevent the negative man-made consequences of global warming, ocean acidification, and aquatic dead zones at so severely impact our wild fisheries and aquaculture. The negative impacts of CO2 emissions and eutrophication are recent phenomena created by humanity’s technological ingenuity.  This very same technological inventiveness will also provide the solutions to these problems and sensors will play a defining role as we boldly confront the negative consequences of our own success as the world’s most dominant species.

One last prediction concerning personal wearable sensors:  In this coming new era, advanced personal health sensors will tell us when our omega 3 and selenium levels are low and then immediately locate and direct us to the nearest restaurant for some sustainable seafood!  This will be yet another overwhelmingly positive ramification in this soon to arrive brave new world of ubiquitous sensors. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

If 2014 welcomes the arrival of the next strong El Niño event, then the seafood industry will most likely experience the following impacts this coming winter and well into 2015:

1.  Aquaculture feed prices may increase due to lower catches of Peruvian anchovies starting in late
     2014 and this may put upward pressure on farmed seafood prices for those cultured species that
     depend upon feed made from fishmeal and fish oil.

2.  Dry weather in late 2014 and continuing into 2015 for China and S.E. Asia may cause a decrease in
     farmed shrimp production causing prices to increase.     

3.  Ecuador may see some increased farmed shrimp production due to warmer weather and increased

4.  This year’s winter Southern California Market Squid fishery may dwindle.

These specific examples are only just a few out of a large basket of many possible disruptive and positive consequences that the seafood industry could face during a strong El Niño event. However, strong El Niño events can also severely impact the world’s entire agricultural and livestock production cycles, which then may shift food protein demand more towards seafood.  Consequently, this could result in a net positive economic benefit for our seafood industry.  El Niño events customarily produce differing degrees of both positive and negatives consequences to our global food production systems.

El Niño events happen approximately every 2-7 years and scientists are becoming more accurate in predicting their arrivals, strengths, and durations.  Unfortunately, accurately predicting all the possible consequences to our seafood industry from an El Niño event is much more difficult due to a myriad of complex climatic and economic variables.

Adaptability and resiliency have always been the hallmarks of our seafood industry.  These very traits were forged over time by the unpredictability of natural events and conditions. The seafood industry has certainly weathered past El Niño events and will do so again.  El Niño events will never deter us from supplying the consumer with the world’s most healthy and sustainable protein because we will always find a way to do so!

2014 may indeed be the year that welcomes the arrival of the next strong El Niño event…..stay tuned…..stay flexible

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer
It is time for world governments and environmental organizations to boldly confront humanity’s dependency on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and its negative consequences that undermine sustainable food production, not only from the land itself, but also from our aquatic ecosystems
§  Synthetic nitrogen used for land based crop fertilizer has made it possible for an additional 3.5 billion people to be alive today.   Without it, we would only have enough food to feed half of our current world population of 7 billion.  Approximately 50% of the nitrogen contained in the muscles and other tissue of our bodies originated from synthetic nitrogen.

§  Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is produced by the 100-year-old Haber-Bosch process that uses primarily nonrenewable natural gas as a key ingredient.  This nitrogen fertilizer production model is inherently unsustainable.

§  Worldwide synthetic nitrogen fertilizer runoffs into rivers and oceans from croplands and other associated chemical reactions that synthetic nitrogen has with the environment contribute greatly to the creation of marine dead zones, aquatic acidification, and global warming.  These all have profound negative impacts on the capacity of our marine and freshwater ecosystems to produce both wild and farmed seafood. 

§  These negative impacts will only intensify unless improvements are made to maximize the efficient application of synthetic nitrogen to croplands on a worldwide basis.  Ultimately, we will need to find renewables to replace the fossil fuels used in its production.

Sea Port believes that this New Year will welcome in a new age where there is a shared holistic concept that food production practices on land are inextricably linked to the healthy food production capabilities of Earth’s aquatic environments.   By boldly confronting our dependency upon synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, we will help advance sustainability improvements for our biosphere.  Such improvements will be critical as we endeavor to feed 3 billion more people (primarily by aquaculture) as our world population expands to 10 billion by the year 2050.

Sea Port is excited for the coming New Year.  We will continue to work towards our corporate goal of advancing sustainable seafood production.  In addition, we will wholehearted support others who share the holistic concept that improvements in land based agriculture accrue sustainability benefits to the entire global seafood industry and we believe that improving the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer on croplands certainly embodies this holistic concept.
Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chilean Sea Bass Advancing along Sea Port’s
 Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum

Sea Port conducted a sustainability assessment for the two species eleginoides and mawsoni of the genus Dissostichus that we market as Chilean Sea Bass.  We did this in order to reveal the existing and potential environmental impacts and risks that were associated with producing this luxury seafood.  This allowed us to establish its starting position along our progressive Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum (see needle on spectrum above).  This assessment was only a single snapshot in time, therefore, we are continuously reassessing all the sustainability determinants and moving the needle along the spectrum as needed to reflect both the positive and negative developments for this fishery.

Sea Port is announcing that Chilean Sea Bass has advanced along our Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum towards becoming more sustainable.

Rationale for this decision:

Today over 80% of total global allowable catch for Chilean Sea Bass in the Southern Ocean and
  surrounding area is managed to prevent IUU fishing (illegal, unreported, unregulated) and overfishing
  through the co-operative efforts of CCAMLR, COLTO,  governments, and NGOs.

Roughly, 2/3rds of the global Chilean Sea Bass catches have achieved Marine Stewardship Council
  certification (MSC) and are currently rated as “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” by the Monterey
  Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Sea Port’s opinion is that the global Chilean Sea Bass fishery can currently serve as a model for how governments, fishers, NGOs, the foodservice industry and consumers can all co-operate to drive sustainability improvements in a once troubled and controversial fishery.

To celebrate the dramatic improvements in the Chilean Sea Bass fishery, the needle will be moved along our Chilean Sea Bass Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum.

Please feel free to leave your comments..........................................Sincerely, Dave

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Zealand Orange Roughy Advances along Sea Port's Sustainability Spectrum

Orange Roughy Advancing along Sea Port’s
 Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum

Sea Port conducted a sustainability assessment for the New Zealand Orange Roughy fishery in order to reveal the existing and potential environmental impacts and risks that were associated with producing this delicacy for human consumption.  This allowed us to establish its starting position along our progressive Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum (see needle on spectrum above).  This assessment was only a single snapshot in time, therefore, we are continuously reassessing all the sustainability determinants and moving the needle along the spectrum as needed to reflect both the positive and negative developments for this fishery.

Sea Port is announcing the advancement of the New Zealand Orange Roughy needle along our spectrum towards becoming more sustainable due to advances in data collection for a major portion of the New Zealand fishing grounds.

Rationale for this decision:

  • In addition to biomass size and distribution data, spawning behavior has been observed and tracked.
  • State of the art sonar and underwater video will continue to advance the collection of important data for additional Orange Roughy fishing grounds

The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the deepwater group have been the driving force behind high technology data collection methods.   The additional data collected by these advanced techniques further strengthen New Zealand’s already modern Quota Management System.

Sea Port believes that because of these ongoing high tech data collection accomplishments, a major portion of this fishery is moving towards becoming more sustainable and because of this the needle will be moved along our Go Blue! Seafood Sustainability Spectrum. 

New Position: 

Please feel free to leave your opinion in the comment section.....................Sincerely, Dave

Sunday, September 29, 2013

IUU Fishing and Ocean Acidification – Sea Port’s Letter to Congress:

Dear Senator Reid, Speaker Boehner, Senator McConnell, and Representative Pelosi,

Sea Port Products Corp is a member of a diverse group of stakeholders that share a common interest in healthy U.S. fisheries that support a robust domestic seafood industry and vibrant coastal communities. We are writing to urge you to support and quickly pass the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act (S. 269/ H.R. 69) and the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act (S. 267) and to ratify the Port State Measures Agreement.  These bipartisan bills and the agreement would improve the detection and prosecution of illegal fishing on the high seas, keep suspected foreign illegal fishers out of U.S. ports, and protect U.S. fishermen, our domestic seafood supply, and enhance the sustainability of global marine fisheries. 

While we overwhelmingly support the passing of S. 269/H.R. 69, S. 267, and the Port State Measures Agreement, Sea Port would like to bring to your attention the larger crisis of emerging ocean acidification.  We believe that the increase in ocean acidity and global warming caused by the record levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere could have profound negative effects on the entire world’s fisheries that dwarf the current regulatory issues of illegal fishing, overfishing, and bycatch.

The global burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other organic matter to provide energy for a growing world population produces an ever-increasing concentration of atmospheric CO2 that both warms and acidifies our oceans.  Ocean acidification is inhibiting the ability of shellfish larvae and certain plankton to incorporate calcium into their bodies to assure their proper development and survival.  It is possible that the emerging negative consequences of ocean acidification will make all historical overfishing damages look tame by comparison.

Thank you for your consideration of passing S.269/H.R.69 & S.267 and the agreement.  In addition, thank you for considering the much wider focused perspective that identifies the increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2 and the emerging negative impacts it has on the entire world’s marine ecosystems.

David Glaubke, Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Note to Sea Port’s industry partners/customers:  Please use all or any portion of this letter to voice your support for these bills directly with your Congressional & House Representatives.

Please feel free to leave any comments or opinions.