Sea Delight: Making a Splash with Sustainability in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Ecuador

By: Alexandra Kueller

Sustainability is spreading rapidly across industries all over the world. Multiple quality example can be found in Sea Delight’s programs in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Ecuador. We want to share the highlights and details of these programs with everyone in Strategic Sustainability’s community for the sake of education and perhaps a model to use in your own business.

Sea Delight partnered with FishWise in 2012 to support Sea Delight’s new sustainable seafood program of Fishery Improvement Projects (“FIPs”).  Now two-thirds of Sea Delights inventory comes from fisheries involved with FIPs. Bravo!

FIPs aim to improve the environmental, economic, and social aspects of fishermen/fisherwomen, their workplaces, and their communities. One of Sea Delight’s specific goals is to help make fishing communities around the world more sustainable so that the supply of seafood is continuous and plentiful.

In 2013 FishWise carried out extensive research on five fisheries that Sea Delight wanted to make more sustainable. The fisheries, located in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Ecuador, needed to become as sustainable as possible and perhaps achieve certification from the Marine Stewardship Council (“MSC”). 

Taken from their 2013 annual report, here are the updates and highlights on Sea Delight’s 5 FIPs:

1)    Indonesia - Tuna

The FIP started in 2010 and the goal is to be MSC certified by 2020

  • Working with government officials in 2013, Sea Delight was able to help train fishermen on the proper ways to use the log book, collect data, and the proper circle-hook technique
  • Additionally, Sea Delight has achieved successful implementation of FIPs with suppliers
  • With Sea Delight investing in FIPs for 2013, another highlights was that Sea Delight was able to register all the fishing vessels they use in Indonesia
  • Full membership was accomplished with Seafood Savers* (Ali can you insert a footnote and give a brief description of what Seafood Savers does- this will give us another group to market the article to), adding to the list of other organizations and stakeholders, including World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), and Indonesian Tuna Commission
  • Fishermen are now trained on how to reduce catch of non-target species and the incorrect hooks were donated
  • Next steps include assisting the government in valuing the importance of enforcement, increase the supply chain transparency, and beginning stock assessments

2)    Indonesia - Snapper & Grouper

The FIP started in 2010 and the MSC certification date is still to be determined

  • Sea Delight worked to eliminate harmful practices, which includes cyanide and dynamite fishing, trading endangered species
  • Became a full member of Seafood Savers, in addition to WWF, MMAF, Provincial Fishery Department
  • Pilot projects to improve data collection, initiate illegal fishing surveillance, and improve data collection were launched
  • Next steps in this FIP include introducing MMAF logbooks to fishermen, developing a management plan for snapper and grouper in Banggai

3)    Vietnam - Tuna

The FIP started in 2012 and the goal is to be MSC certified by 2019

  • Stakeholders agreed to pursue a formalized FIP and a FIP Action Plan was finalized
  • FIP partnership agreement began
  • Transitioning to meet the Conservation Alliance’s definition of a comprehensive FIP
  • Next steps include providing input and feedback to the FIP coordination unit, working with the FIP coordination unit to support traceability measures, cooperating with any audits of the supply chain

4)    Vietnam  - Snapper & Grouper

The FIP started in 2011 and the MSC certification date is still to be determined

  • Fishery observer trips were conducted to collect length and weight data on catch composition
  • A Trace Register traceability system was implemented
  • Does not yet meet the Conservation Alliance’s definition of a basic FIP
  • Next steps include the continuation of data collection, compiling and analyzing the data, establish a formalized FIP

5)    Ecuador - Mahi

The FIP started in 2009 and the MSC certification date is still to be determined

  • Developing a traceability plan to Sea Delight’s supply chain and assistance from the Ecuadorian government and WWF
  • Attended a stakeholder meeting to explore opportunities to support the FIP
  • Implemented a billback program to help develop a traceable supply chain
  • Next steps include continuing work with WWF to establish a supply chain traceability program, procuring and supplying circle hooks to the local fishermen, providing stakeholder input when and where possible

What we noticed

The Sea Delight 2013 Annual report shows a strong effort to improve sustainability in these countries. Moreover, their efforts are creating sustainability achievements and progress. The report on these 5 FIPs is filled with nuggets of information and provides excellent detail. However, the report isn’t the most user-friendly out there. The text is organized in an outline format with only a few pictures to break everything up. Don’t be discouraged, though, there is great information in the report!

The ocean is just one of many areas that sustainability can focus on, and it is an area that is also hard-hit by climate change. Here is a blog post about climate change is affecting everything around us.