Aker BioMarine receives third straight “A” rating from Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

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20 Nov 2017 --- Aker BioMarine’s krill fishery in the Antarctic has received an “A” rating from The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) for the third year in a row. The Reduction Fisheries: SFP Fisheries Sustainability Overview 2017 analyzed 20 of the most significant fisheries used for the production of fishmeal or fish oil and assessed the sustainability of the current management regimes.

Aker BioMarine notes that similar to the findings in previous years, only 2.2 percent of the total catch volume of the reduction fisheries in this analysis came from stocks in “very good condition” and this corresponds to a single fishery: Antarctic krill – Atlantic Southern Ocean. A much larger 81 percent of the total catch volume comes from stocks that are reasonably well managed, an improvement from last year, when only 57.4 percent of the fisheries received that rating.

“For us, the most important milestone to ensure that the krill biomass is in good condition has been mobilizing the members of the Association for Responsible Krill harvesting companies (ARK) to contribute to the next big biomass survey taking place in 2019,” Cilia Holmes Indahl, Director Sustainability at Aker BioMarine, tells NutritionInsight. “All members have agreed to lend our vessels to researchers for collecting biomass data for a total of seven days during the survey.”

“Secondly, we believe that it is part of our responsibility to care for the rest of the ecosystem dependent upon krill,” Indahl notes of future plans. “For this reason we renewed our commitment to independent research on the Antarctic Ecosystem through a five year contribution to the Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund of US$1 million.”

“With our annual report for 2017 we will also launch a set of principles for sustainable fishing that we will co-create with WWF. As stated by the independent observers onboard our vessels, there is a lot to learn from the way the krill fishery is operating, both in transparency and focused efforts to radically reduce bycatch,” adds Indahl.

Reshaping corporate responsibility
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership is a young and dynamic, business-focused NGO (non-governmental organization), Aker BioMarine notes, adding that it is helping to reshape the world of corporate responsibility by allowing companies to directly engage with suppliers of natural resources.

As part of the SFP’s mission to assess and improve the needs of sustainability, the organization analyzed data from 20 stocks from 13 species and two main groups (fish and crustaceans), rated according to the sustainability assessment presented on FishSource.

“The report shows a significant improvement for several other fisheries from last year, which is proof that many participants in the fishing industry are serious about doing business the right way,” says Indahl. “As a sustainability frontrunner, we are very satisfied that others are following.”

“We have openly shared our data and expertise to drive positive change in the industry and take the right steps to ensure that the fisheries take responsibility for the ecosystems in which they harvest,” Indahl adds. “We need omega 3s for our overall health and the all hands on deck approach to sustainability helps us balance our work for improving human health with taking care of the environment.”

The next step for the industry as a whole would be to work together to spread out the fishing efforts and take the voluntary action of not fishing close to some of the penguin colonies that are being impacted by changing climate, according to Indahl.

“Our first step was coming together last year when ARK members voluntarily agreed to avoid fishing during the 2016/17 breeding season near gentoo penguin colonies at three sites in Subarea 48.1 which had suffered mortality events apparently caused by unusual environmental conditions,” Indahl notes.

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