A UK-based supply chain led initiative, focused on driving improvements to the management of the North East Atlantic fisheries for mackerel, herring and blue whiting has been established.
The formal creation of the group is the latest step in a project which began in 2019 in response to the suspension of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) North East Atlantic mackerel fishery certification. Management of these fisheries is complex, involving six coastal states, in addition to which there are ongoing disputes regarding quota allocation.
‘Some progress has been made but there is no escaping that delivering long-term sustainable management of these fisheries presents a challenge. Coastal state governance issues mean that it has not been possible to agree a mechanism which establishes total allowable catches aligned to scientific advice for these fisheries,’ commented Ally Dingwall of Sainsbury’s.
‘In the absence of any quick win solutions it is vital that the supply chain works together to drive improvements and influence change.’
The North Atlantic Pelagic Advocacy (NAPA) Group has been set up by retailers and processors from across the UK to consider how the supply chain could drive improvements in the management of these fisheries. NAPA is seeking to achieve a formal agreement on catch limits for North East Atlantic Pelagic fisheries that reflects the scientific advice.
‘There has been a great deal of work over the past six months to establish NAPA and to develop and agree the group’s Action Plan. We are now ready to promote the group to potential members across Europe and I would encourage interested parties to get in touch to discuss how they might get involved,’ said Aoife Martin, independent chair of NAPA,
Tomolamola Consulting developed, and will implement the action plan while Seafish acts as independent chair and provides Treasurer Services on behalf of NAPA.
Since its formal creation in early 2020 membership has expanded to include European retailers and processors. The group has already made considerable progress since its first meeting. In late March members held a workshop to develop an action plan to drive the work of the group over the next 12 to 36 months.
‘Although NAPA originated in the UK, the problems that it is seeking to address clearly affect the wider European supply chain. NAPA provides an opportunity for businesses from across Europe, whether they are a herring processor, a salmon feed manufacturer or a retailer, to work collectively to initiate change,’ stated Krishan Kent of the Sweden Seafood Association.
A priority action is the creation of a Fisheries Improvement Project and a comprehensive engagement strategy with key decision-makers for herring and blue whiting.
‘By also focusing on blue whiting, NAPA is committed to driving improvements in this fishery which is such a vital component of the farmed salmon supply chain. It is important for Waitrose that it secures ‘end to end’ supply chain assurance across its seafood portfolio and our participation in NAPA is a means to achieve this,’ said Waitrose’s Melissa Tillotson.