The International Boston Seafood Show is all about business, with tens of thousands of seafood professionals from around the globe attending each year. The show features seafood producers showcasing their product to catch the eye of major market buyers and ultimately scoring a deal. For the more casual attendee, the show is a great opportunity to view (and sample!) a diversity of seafood from around the world.
What are not as apparent are the hundreds of meetings and seminars that take place off the showroom floor. A major theme of this year's meetings was Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). FIPs are industry-led initiatives taking place all over the world aimed at improving fisheries sustainability. FIPs are particularly important where credible and effective government regulations do not exist. Many retailers are now choosing to purchase seafood supplied from industries engaged in FIPs because they demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. FIPs can focus on a range of issues, including implementing size and seasonal restrictions, developing selectivity and by-catch standards, collecting data to inform science, and advocating for more sustainable policy actions.
Many retailers prioritize their sourcing from suppliers engaged in FIPs and often proactively identify fisheries in need of improvement. This engagement by retailers provides a built-in reward for members of the industry actively investing in sustainability. The seafood industry plays an active and leading role in FIPs, while working collaboratively with NGO partners to help inform sustainability priorities.
At the Boston Seafood Show, FIP updates and discussions were well attended by suppliers and buyers alike, indicating that there is strong interest and that FIPs have become a new part of doing business.
For more information on FIPs and examples of some FIPs in action, visit Sustainable Seafood Partnership's website at www.sustainablefish.org