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Point of View: Mike Boots

Director, Seafood Choices Alliance, Silver Spring, Md.

Property of SeaFood Business magazine

November 01, 2008

A few words: meaningful, multilateral industry partnerships.

There is no debate about the very real partnerships that have emerged during the first phase of the sustainable seafood movement between conservation groups and seafood companies. All are starting to have an impact on the broader industry, but it's clear that no one company can solve this problem alone. It's going to take industry-wide cooperation to begin solving the challenges of seafood supply and to demonstrate real change.

The key to the future of this movement is to leverage partnerships, but not to rely on them alone. We need to have collective, sweeping action. Companies need to put competition aside in order to work together to find solutions. One company or organization is simply not enough to ensure the future of this -- or anyone else's - business.

The challenge we face is large, global and complicated. To actually make improvement, there needs to be a fundamental change in doing business that allows companies to harness their collective power across the supply chain. We need to be working together in targeted regions, and with specific fisheries - as some already are - to put the right 
incentives in place, to jointly pull the right levers throughout the supply chain and to make the case for change both in the marketplace and in government. The good news for those companies ready to act is that many of their colleagues are increasingly willing to make that leap with them.

If this industry can successfully harness their collective power, the positive changes will be felt economically, environmentally and politically. Until then, we're just playing around the edges of what needs to be real change.

 

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