Supply chain cooperation needed to drive sustainable seafood [Press Release]
Singapore, 28 October 2013 – Ting Zhi, Berhenti, Pothum. Stop, in whichever language it makes you to, before you pop that Tiger Prawn tempura in. That luscious mouthful of prawn on your plate, often from Indonesia and Thailand, comes at a devastating price to the environment and local communities. Ditto for the Bluefin Tuna, Humphead Wrasse, Crimson Snapper, Flower Crab, Polkadot Grouper and many more species of seafood that are effortlessly consumed in Singapore. In a gulp the fish is over and so is its survivability in the wild.
Addressing that issue, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) Singapore and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) today held Singapore’s first Sustainable Seafood Business Forum, bringing together fisheries, traders and retailers to drive sustainability throughout the seafood supply chain. The initiative will promote sustainable procurement and consumption practices of seafood in the island and spread public awareness about the available choice of a wide range of sustainable seafood products and suppliers.
Speakers at the forum from certified sustainable fisheries and farms in the region, technical experts in conservation and sustainability and members of the civil society backed Singapore’s first ever sustainable seafood initiative.
WWF-Singapore and MSC further announced that the business forum was not just a one-off event, instead a precursor to its inaugural sustainable seafood festival scheduled for June 2014. The week-long festival will bring on board some of Singapore’s most popular restaurants, hotels and supermarkets to collectively raise awareness and promote sustainable seafood options to the general populace.
Ms Elaine Tan, CEO, WWF-Singapore said, it was about time that Singapore as a nation took a conscious and collective step in addressing the situation, thus raising the bar of sustainability. “As a nation, we consume an average of 140,000 tonnes of seafood every year. But our supplies are fast running out – 87 percent of the world’s fisheries are fully or overexploited.”
Ms. Tan also said that WWF-Singapore recognised the need to be the drivers of a significant change phenomenon. “We will work together with the industry, public and private partners and hold hands with the supply chain so as to influence consumer behaviour and consumption patterns. We hope today’s Sustainable Seafood Trade Forum provides the industry with a platform to exchange ideas and proposals on sustainability, and encourage them to come onboard with us. The common goal of achieving sustainability will not only ensure the long-term viability of the industry, but also compliment the sustainable supply of fish and seafood that we enjoy today.”
Ms. Tan’s thoughts were echoed by Mr. Kelvin Ng, Asia Pacific Director, MSC. “The ocean is not a bottomless pit and we need to do our part to ensure the future generation enjoys the same seafood we do today. Every player in the market – fisheries, distributors, food service and retailers plays an important and critical role in this market transformation journey,” said Mr. Ng.
Mr. Ng also emphasised on the importance of sustainability in safeguarding business cycles. “MSC Sustainable certified seafood is important because it also ensures supply and the longevity of the seafood businesses in Singapore. We are delighted that Shangri-La Hotel Singapore and Raffles Marina has taken on this leadership position to be a pioneer in promoting MSC-certified sustainable seafood for this week in their respective restaurants.”
He said he hoped through Singapore’s first seafood business forum, everyone would acquire a better understanding about MSC’s novel program and be inspired to do their part, thereby starting to make changes to their sourcing policies and sourcing only for responsibly-harvested seafood.
Meanwhile, Manfred Weber, General Manager of Shangri-La Hotel said that sustainable sourcing was an integral part of their operations.
“After launching our Sustainable Seafood Policy in January 2012, we continue to build new partnerships and initiatives to enhance our efforts in being a socially responsible hotel,” said Mr. Weber.
He also said that he was confident that the hotel’s collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature and Marine Stewardship Council would be rewarding for his colleagues, guests and business partners.
WWF-Singapore and MSC expect the level of engagement with the members of public to increase with more industry leaders joining the sustainable seafood movement. So the next time your taste buds get the better of your conscience, sit back, give the environment a chance and think twice. That’s right, think again, san si er xing, fikir dua kali, yosiyungle marupadiyum. It’s about time our food for thought comes from your seafood.