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Chief executives of the global farmed salmon industry launched a major initiative, the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), which unites 15 global farmed salmon producers committed to greater industry cooperation and transparency, in order to achieve significant and continuous progress in industry sustainability.
The initiative, an information video of which appears below, aims to make significant strides in providing a sustainable source of protein (farmed salmon) to feed a growing population.
With a shared ambition of improving industry performance across three pillars of sustainability: reducing environmental impact, increasing social contribution and maintaining economic growth. GSI leaders said the group will focus on areas where they can make ambitious yet achievable improvements within a realistic timeframe.
“As an industry, we recognize that while we have made significant progress, there is still a lot to be done in terms of sustainability," said GSI co-chair Alf-Helge Aarskog, CEO of Marine Harvest. "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."
Keen to make substantial improvements, GSI is concentrating their efforts on three priority areas facing the industry: biosecurity, feed sourcing and meeting industry standards.
Added José Ramón Gutíerrez, co-chair of GSI and executive director of Multiexport Foods S.A.: “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.”
As the first initiative of its kind, GSI leaders hope to maximize their cooperation and resources to ignite improvements which would otherwise be unachievable if attempted individually.
The members of GSI are committed to significant improvements in the sustainability of their operations. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard for salmon aquaculture provides a framework to guide and report on the progress GSI is making, and the initiative is adopting the ASC framework as its primary reference point for work and progress. It is recognized that while salmon farmers have already been making progress toward greater sustainability, and have met the requirements of other demanding standards, they acknowledge that more needs to be done.
"This is a game-changer,” noted Dr. Jason Clay, SVP of market transformation for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “The salmon sector working together and embracing sustainability is going to radically change aquaculture – and affect the food industry in a big way.”
WWF launched the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogues nine years ago, the outcome of which was the ASC 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.
GSI is committed to working closely with industry partners to ensure it is making significant change in areas affecting the whole of the industry, and is not merely satisfying the status quo. Keen on improving sustainability across the aquaculture industry, GSI has also formed an alliance with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Both parties share a goal of supporting the expansion of sustainable aquaculture as a source of high quality food source for a growing global population.
“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 Árni Mathiesen, assistant director general, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture. “GSI provides an opportunity to seriously address sustainability challenges as a commodity subsector and this could provide lessons on how a sustainable industry can be created and maintained, and we hope that we can transfer this experience to developing nations, in support of the expansion of their sustainable aquaculture industry, to provide greater sources of nutritious and healthy food.”
The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) is a leadership initiative established by global farmed salmon producers focused on making significant progress on industry sustainability. GSI is committed to fully realizing a shared goal of providing a highly sustainable source of healthy food to feed a growing global population, whilst minimizing our environmental footprint, and continuing to improve our social contribution.
GSI member companies include: Acuinova Chile; Bakkafrost; Blumar; Cermaq; Compañía Pesquera Camanchaca; Empresas AquaChile; Grieg Seafood; Lerøy Seafood Group; Los Fiordos; Marine Harvest; Norway Royal Salmon; SalMar; Multiexport Foods SA; The Scottish Salmon Company; Scottish Sea Farms. GSI companies have presence in Chile, Canada, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Scotland, and make significant contributions to the economies of these respective countries.