US – Improving ocean diversity and reducing the seafood industry’s carbon emissions are at the heart of two major programs run by US agricultural commodities conglomerate Cargill and British multinational retailer Tesco.

Each of the multinationals is spearheading its own initiatives to turn the tide of unsustainable aquaculture and depleted ocean stocks.

Among its targets, Cargill’s new SeaFurther program has set a path to cut emissions from salmon farming by 30 percent.

It further aims to save two billion kilograms of CO2 by 2030, while saving energy on the high seas through decarbonizing its global bulk shipping.

Meanwhile, Tesco is striving to reach 100 percent Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified tuna by 2025.

This is part of the British retailer’s roadmap to transition to ecosystem-based fisheries management by 2030.

Appetite for fish impacts marine biodiversity

A recent report by Just Economics has flagged that intensive farming practices by salmon producers have cost the industry almost US$50 billion since 2013.

The roadmaps to improve marine biodiversity come as global fish consumption peaks driven by consumers tapping into the health benefits of seafood.

As a result of the spike, marine biodiversity continues to be at risk from overfishing, with 94 percent of all fish stocks either overfished or at a maximum sustainable level.

Among the species most at risk is tuna, which is integral to the diets of millions of people around the world.

The Cargill Approach

Cargill’s SeaFurther program is trying to ameliorate the unsustainable fish farming practices by working closely with salmon farmers to cut down on intensive farming practices

A recent report by Just Economics has flagged that intensive farming practices by salmon producers have cost the industry almost US$50 billion since 2013.

With the upcycling trend gaining traction, the company says it plans to work closely with its suppliers to find ways to reuse by-products, like fish trimmings that would normally be discarded.

“We recognize that reducing greenhouse gas requires major systematic change – from raw material origin to seafood consumer,” notes the spokesperson.

“We anticipate that to maximize the change, investments will need to be made throughout the value chain, which can take time to arrange.”

Among its open water targets, Cargill has put forward a goal to reduce the environmental impact of its global bulk shipping.

This comes in line with the International Maritime Organization’s target to reduce decarbonize shipping by at least 50 percent by 2050.

Tesco’s initiative

Tesco, on the other hand, has set out a roadmap to transition to “ecosystem-based” fisheries management by 2030 in an effort to bolster sustainable fishing.

In 2019, 79 percent of Tesco’s UK seafood volumes were certified as sustainable by the MSC.

The UK retailer is rolling out new due diligence processes across its tuna supply chain, helping them to achieve its goal of 100 percent MSC certification across its tuna ranges by 2025.

Through a partnership with the WWF and its suppliers, the company is aiming for an industry-wide adoption of the SSB40 metric to report on the health of fish stocks.

The metric will help Tesco and its suppliers to know if their fish is being sourced from a marine environment in which the amount of breeding fish present is at least 40 percent of the amount in the original populations – a key component of maintaining healthy marine ecosystems.

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