The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program helps U.S. consumers and businesses make seafood choices for a healthy ocean. Since 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported, this mission is global. We're on the ground in key seafood-producing regions of the world—working with industry, governments and other stakeholders toward more sustainable seafood production.
One example is our 2017 collaboration with the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Multiexport Foods S.A., and Mitsui & Co. to reduce chemical use and disease in Chilean salmon farms. Chile is the world's second-largest producer of farmed salmon, and the majority is currently rated Avoid. Through this joint effort, we're working to improve aquaculture practices in the region, and ultimately bring more sustainable farmed salmon options into the market.
Southeast Asia is a leading exporter of seafood, but unsustainable fishing and aquaculture practices threaten the region’s rich and diverse marine life. For example, most of the shrimp farmed in Southeast Asia and exported to the United States is currently on the Seafood Watch Avoid list. But in response to our work, seafood producers and regulators are taking encouraging steps toward more sustainable production.
Since 2016, our Seafood Watch team has been working with the Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative to inform ocean-healthy practices. These country-specific improvement strategies have resulted in Good Alternative-rated farmed shrimp making its way to the U.S. market.
In October, we launched a partnership with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Through the Southeast Asia Fisheries and Aquaculture Initiative, we're joining with regional governments and seafood producers in Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines to overcome obstacles to sustainable seafood production.
Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the initiative at the "Our Ocean" conference in Malta. "Sustainable fishing is good for jobs and good for the environment at the same time," he said. "It's not a competition between the two."
The initiative brings each country's local experts—including representatives from industry, nonprofits and government—together with global advisors, mapping a path toward seafood production that is both environmentally and socially sustainable.
Wherever people are producing seafood, it helps to have government policies that support improvements. Seafood Watch and our partners are developing a framework to help leaders around the world lay the regulatory foundation for more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
Together with our international colleagues, we're moving toward a vision of seafood production that builds strong economies, thriving communities and a healthy ocean.
"Sustainable fishing is good for jobs and good for the environment at the same time. It's not a competition between the two."
- John Kerry
Left: Seafood Watch staff experts meet with shrimp producers. Right: A farmed shrimp from Southeast Asia, which produces much of the world's supply.