LEADERS of the global farmed salmon industry have launched the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), a major sustainability initiative that unites 15 global farmed salmon producers in an effort to achieve significant and continuous progress in industry sustainability.
The industry-led GSI aims to make "significant strides" in providing a sustainable source of protein — farmed salmon — to feed a growing population, the group said in launching the initiative Aug. 15 at the AquaNor conference in Trondheim, Norway.
Companies involved in GSI announced that they are focusing on areas where they can make ambitious, yet achievable, improvements within a realistic time frame.
"As an industry, we recognize that while we have made significant progress, there is still a lot to be done in terms of sustainability. As a relatively young industry, we hope that, through industry collaboration, research and sharing of knowledge, we can make the necessary changes to do better and keep getting better," said GSI co-chair Alf-Helge Aarskog, chief executive officer of Marine Harvest.
GSI will concentrate efforts on three priority areas facing the industry: (1) biosecurity, (2) feed sourcing and (3) meeting industry standards.
"Each of our focus areas are critical and integral to the success of our industry, and with commitment across regions to work together for the first time, we have the opportunity for real and beneficial change," said Jose Ramon Gutierrez, co-chair of GSI and executive director of Multiexport Foods S.A.
GSI members will use the Aquaculture Stewardship Council standard for salmon aquaculture as a framework to guide and report on the progress they are making.
GSI member companies include: Acuinova Chile, Bakkafrost, Blumar, Cermaq, Compania Pesquera Camanchaca, Empresas AquaChile, Grieg Seafood, Leroy Seafood Group, Los Fiordos, Marine Harvest, Norway Royal Salmon, SalMar, Multiexport Foods, The Scottish Salmon Co. and Scottish Sea Farms. GSI companies have operations in Chile, Canada, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Scotland.
Dr. Jason Clay, senior vice president of market transformation for World Wildlife Fund, called the intiative "a game-changer. The salmon sector working together and embracing sustainability is going to radically change aquaculture — and affect the food industry in a big way."
The Wildlife Fund launched the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogues nine years ago, and an outcome of the dialogues was the Aquaculture Stewardship Council standard.
"This commitment shows that these companies see sustainability as a pre-competitive issue — one that they can work on together to make progress more quickly," Clay added.
Keen on improving sustainability across the aquaculture industry, GSI has also formed an alliance with the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO).
"Through the GSI and FAO partnership, there is the potential to improve access and the exchange of information and expertise to support global improvements in environmental and social performance across the industry," said Arni Mathiesen, assistant director general of FAO Fisheries & Aquaculture.