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

Monday, June 23, 2014

This June has been remarkable for the number of news events that have positively supported Sea Port’s optimistic and enthusiastic commitment to our Go Blue! seafood initiatives for environmental sustainability, personal health, and social justice.  As Sea Port celebrates its annual June CFEST Seafood Celebration, we want to highlight some of this month’s positive news developments. Most importantly, Sea Port wants to emphasize that we believe that our worldwide seafood industry is the most responsible and proactive of all the world’s economic sectors in driving the needed environmental and social justice improvements associated with the utilization of our productive and awe inspiring aquatic resources.
·         U.S. State Dept. downgrading Thailand to Tier 3:  Ultimately positive to drive social equity and eliminate the slave trade which is the second most common and lucrative global crime behind illegal arms trading

·         EPA Proposes guidelines to cut carbon pollution from existing  coal-fired power plants:  ultimately positive to mitigate ocean warming and acidification

·         FDA & EPA new proposed guidelines for seafood consumption for those pregnant and for young children:  Overwhelmingly positive

·         White House announced initiatives to combat IUU fishing, seafood fraud, and global overfishing:  Ultimately positive for advancing the long term sustainability of seafood production & marketing

·         White House and other nations announcing the formation of additional Marine Protected Areas:  Ultimately positive for enhancing adjacent fisheries and protecting biodiversity

·         National Strategic Plan for Aquaculture announcement:  Ultimately positive because aquaculture is the world’s fastest growing animal protein production system (outdoing beef production!)

·         The State Department’s “Our Ocean”, the Capitol Hill Ocean Week, World Oceans Day, and NOAA’s June  National Ocean Month all have worked to inform the politicians at home and abroad about the importance of our worldwide fisheries and aquatic environments and the solvable threats they face

Sea Port believes our seafood industry was born of struggle, courage, and most importantly of a positive and enthusiastic “can-do” attitude and because of this, we in the seafood industry will be the primary drivers of ocean health and human wellbeing in terms of social equity, prosperity, and personal health.  Please leave any comments or email me directly at     Sincerely, Dave Glaubke, Director of Sustainability Initiatives

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

World Oceans Day:  The perfect time to rekindle the conservationist spirit of Theodore Roosevelt to help expand worldwide marine protected areas

Currently approximately 13% of landmasses on our Earth are protected from all or limited human influence by way of national parks, reserves, preserves, wilderness areas, and refuges. It is now time that our world oceans are accorded the same level of protection.  To be at a commensurate level the amount of protected ocean areas would need to more than quadruple.

"Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us." - Theodore Roosevelt

During Roosevelt’s presidency, he protected approximately 230,000,000 acres of public land and encouraged other nations around the world to do the same with their own natural wonderland areas.

World Oceans Day is the perfect time for all nations to embrace the enduring conservationist spirit of Theodore Roosevelt and work together to help bring our wondrous oceans up to the same level of protection that the world gives to its lands.

In the naturalist spirit of Teddy Roosevelt, enjoy and celebrate World Oceans Day!

Sincerely, David Glaubke

Director of Sustainability Initiatives, Sea Port Products Corp.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sea Port is helping lead the way to the next Green Revolution

The land based Green Revolution that was championed by Norman Borlaug in the 1960s is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation by developing robust high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice that when augmented with the application of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and modern growing practices enabled the production in the developing countries of Asia to more than double!

I can still remember as a kid in the ‘60s when my parents would say, “Eat all that food on your plate, people in China are starving!” For those of you who also grew up in that era, you most likely heard similar parental chiding and you may have even responded with the same smart-alecky retort I used.  However, now that I am older and hopefully more mature, I am simply astounded how significant the Green Revolution was in the course of modern history.  The terrible scourge of starvation was dramatically reduced.  In addition to this, the resulting increased state of food security enabled the world population to grow quickly from 3 billion in 1960 to the present day 7 billion.

This land based Green Revolution however is far from over and is poised to get some major boosts from a variety new agritech achievements such as super rice varieties.  While this is certainly comforting news as our population expands toward 10 billion by the year 2050, an emerging new type of Green Revolution may become even more significant for humanity going forward:
Seaweed and microalgae aquaculture !
 A host of possible benefits from this new type of Green Revolution based on algae:
·         small area of ocean needed to feed the entire planet
·         reduction of ocean acidification
·         reduced need for feed inputs to grow the seaweed and algae
·         carbon and nitrogen sink attributes
·         providing a protein and omega 3 feed source for finfish and crustacean aquaculture and land livestock
·         providing oils for the creation of biofuels and bioplastics
·         expanding the development of important pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals

Sea Port is constantly anticipating and strategizing in order to both drive and adapt to changes in our dynamic seafood industry.  One way we are driving positive change is by promoting our Seasoned Seaweed Salad.  Please get on board with us and do your part to help make this new Green Revolution become a reality quicker by simply adding seaweed to your seafood choices.

I believe that the arrival of this new Green Revolution will be so profound that a smart-alecky retort like the one I made in my childhood in the ‘60s (“Well, just send it to them then”) will simply never occur in the future because the scourge of starvation will have been totally eliminated due to the multiple benefits stemming from seaweed and microalgae aquaculture.

I would love to hear your comments..............................Sincerely, Dave Glaubke