GLOBAL - The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) was launched yesterday (15 August)during Aqua Nor 2013, in Trondheim, Norway, to address the challenges in and create a more sustainable global salmon farming industry, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor, from Aqua Nor 2013.
The GSI is comprised of 15 salmon farming companies from around the world working together to solve the problem of how to feed the world through salmon farming whilst protecting the world’s ecosystems.
The GSI is both radical and practical as it is being conducted by businesses in the industry in a step-by-step way which ensures transparency, cooperation and the sharing of knowledge.
Sitting on the panel at the GSI’s first public event, Alf-Helge Aarskog, CEO, Marine Harvest, joined with José Ramón Gutíerrez, Executive Director, Multiexport Foods, Alfonso Márquez de la Plata, CEO of Empresas AquaChile, Yngve Myhre, CEO of SalMar, Jason Clay from WWF and Arni Mathiesen, Assistant Director General of FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture, to discuss how the initiative began and how it aims to work towards a sustainable future for the industry.
Mr Aarskog noted that the GSI will focus on three areas:
- Biosecurity – The initiative aims to work practically to help solve the problem of sealice.
- Feed sources – Focusing on where fish feed comes from and the potential of using fish which is usually discarded.
- Standards – The GSI is also working towards the image and sustainability of the industry by making sure standards are met, particularly through a commitment to Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
Commenting on the history of the initiative, Mr Ramón Gutíerrez said that the GSI began two years ago in Trondheim, with a view of creating something that would allow companies to solve the industry's problems through commitement, collaboration and sharing knowledge.
Mr Ramón Gutíerrez noted that the objectives of the GSI are not only just to bring farmers together and achieve the best standards, but, also to create economic sustainability.
Farmers in the industry are currently working hard to achieve good standards of production, but a standard was needed that constantly challenged and evaluated, demonstrating the hard work being put in, said Mr Márquez de la Plata. The result was the ASC standard. The aim now is that by 2020, all GSI companies will be ASC certified, he said.
Commenting on the planned commitment, Chris Ninnes, ASC’s Chief Executive, added: “I am delighted that GSI has committed to meet ASC’s salmon standard. Fish is a high quality protein food and the sector makes a significant and growing contribution to world food security. Salmon is farmed on a worldwide scale with nearly two thirds of all the salmon consumed coming from farms. Given the anticipated farmed sector growth it is very important that the industry manages its aquaculture practices responsibly.”
The aquaculture industry is the only industry that is collaborating not competing to work towards a sustainable future, said Dr Clay. Everyone wants to see good results.
“The salmon sector is finally working together and embracing sustainability. This is going to radically change aquaculture – and have ripple effects in the entire global food industry,” he continued.
The British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association also welcomed the announcement. “Our members are committed to being industry leaders and meeting the highest international standards,” said Executive Director Mary Ellen Walling.
“This initiative recognises that there is no limit to how sustainable you can be. You don’t reach the highest level and stop; there is always room for improvement, always more you can learn. This collaboration will benefit the industry in BC and around the world.”
Also working together with the salmon companies in the initiative is the FAO. Mr Mathiesen commented that the FAO has now signed an memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate with the GSI.
The 15 GSI member companies are:
- Acuinova Chile
- Compañía Pesquera Camanchaca
- Empresas AquaChile
- Grieg Seafoods
- Lerøy Seafood Group
- Los Fiordos
- Marine Harvest
- Norway Royal Salmon
- Multiexport Foods SA
- The Scottish Salmon Company
- Scottish Sea Farms