Forget the romantic image of a lonely fisherman chasing his catch on the open water. Fishing supply chains have become sprawling, technology-driven operations rife with overfishing and human rights abuses.
For that reason, fishing companies and the stores that sell their products are increasingly on the hook for the environmental and human effects of their supply chains. The need to know where fish comes from for legal compliance purposes and resource preservation, from sea to shelf, has spawned "seatech."
Monica Jain, founder of Fish 2.0, an organization that fosters entrepreneurship in sustainable fishing and aquaculture, describes this space as "new monitoring, visibility, production and processing tools for the seafood industry."
One-third of global fishing stocks are depleted, according to the Greenpeace Sea of Distress report issued in October. And global fish catches have been declining since the 1990s. With seafood production expected to increase 20 percent by 2025, ocean ecosystems are being decimated. Furthermore, the U.S. State Department has found forced labor and human trafficking on fishing vessels or processing facilities in more than 50 countries.
In response, Greenpeace found that major food industry players including Sodexo, Aramark and Compass group are taking strides towards protecting the oceans and the people who make a living from them by selling responsibly-sourced seafood, and increasing transparency and better practices at sea.
Aramark, for example, is the first U.S. foodservice company to procure seafood from vessels that don't participate in transshipment, policies that allow vessels to fish for years and can breed labor and human rights abuses. Also this year, global tuna giant Thai Union has taken the lead to source sustainably caught tuna and protect worker's rights.