Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sustainable Seafood Summit

Sustainability means different things to different people. That leaves lots of room for arguments. Almost everyone agrees that sustainability is important, so that makes the arguments important.

The most interesting thing about the summit is that we're having the conversation about sustainability. That's a victory. Many seafood business people want to be viewed as sustainable. Hooray. Now for the hard work of making sure the claims mean something.

That's hard in a business environment where profits are everything and margins are thin. There isn't a lot of slack to devote to fluffy concepts. So sustainability must have bankable benefits for businesses to join the sustainability parade.

But what is gained if we endorse businesses that are not truly sustainable? We may make some progress today, but will we have to give up bigger progress towards the ultimate goal?

I think we have to figure out which small steps forward are pointing us in the right direction, towards the ultimate goal. Because nobody will take giant leaps towards the goal if progress is long, hard, and has no interim rewards. OK, almost nobody.

It's nice to hear so many people talk about sustainability, and hear reports of progress. I'm optimistic that we're headed in the right direction.


Francesco Ricciardi said...

Dear Mark,

recently also here in Italy some newspapers started a campaing to inform about the not-sustanaibility of redfin tuna in Mediterranean. But, at the same time, the most famous television program about "The sea" is an apology of fishermen..

Hodad said...

Hola, yes for me sustainability and efficiency are the most important aspects of the small scale seafood business/industry
NOT large boats and at sea processors
we work with small scale fishermen in Latin America
www.fairtradefish.org for info and links