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Editor's Note: Collaboration is key

Property of SeaFood Business magazine
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
November 01, 2008

A whirlwind of sustainable seafood initiatives have been introduced for seafood buyers worldwide over the past several years. To put the sustainable seafood movement into perspective and help those buyers who haven't yet "gone green," we present to you our first ever Sustainable Seafood Buyer's Guide.

One theme you'll see repeated throughout this special issue is collaboration. Steven Hedlund's Top Story on page 20 shows the roots of the sustainable seafood movement and the initial partnerships that were formed, and the challenges buyers face to keep the sustainability momentum going.

The industry leaders who share their opinion in Point of View on page 14 repeatedly mention partnerships are critical for moving sustainability forward. Collaboration is also crucial to the certification groups and consumer buying guides that are featured on pages 32 and 38, respectively. Many of these groups use the same science but adjust the information to suit the needs of their respective audiences.

Establishing a sustainable seafood program undoubtedly means working with an outside organization for advice. There is no one-size-fits-all sustainability road map for companies to refer to. Most companies that have gone through the process have turned to conservation groups for help. Our retail, foodservice and distributor profiles are examples of how different sectors of the food industry have installed sustainability programs.

There are many different sustainability initiatives out there that have operated quietly for years, such as Mexico's Alto Golfo Sustentable program in the Upper Gulf of California that started in 2005 as a partnership between Ocean Garden Products in San Diego and the National Resources Defense Council. There's also Fishsource, a program of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, which shows the status and environmental performance of fisheries worldwide. We couldn't possibly feature all of the sustainability programs in one issue, but what we have included is a launching pad for a column SeaFood Business will debut in January, "Going Green." Contributing Editor Lisa Duchene will keep readers updated on sustainable seafood-related initiatives in this space.

If you asked me 10 years ago whether the seafood industry and conservation sector would be able to work together to move the sustainability issue to the forefront I would have said, "No way, no how." I'm glad I was wrong.


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