Seafood Watch Aids Brazil’s Sustainable Seafood Efforts

An Article by Simone Jones, Seafood Watch Business Engagement Manager and liaison for seafood sustainability efforts in Brazil

Seafood Watch assesses the sustainability of seafood products available to North American consumers, including products caught or farmed in the U.S. and abroad. Our expertise has sparked international interest in our assessment methodologies and recommendations. In response, Seafood Watch is expanding its international presence. 

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In May, I  traveled to Brazil with two members of our Seafood Watch science team to strengthen our connections with the sustainable seafood movement in Latin America. Together with Brazilian colleagues, we facilitated a Seafood Watch-sponsored Fisheries and Aquaculture Seminar for Sustainable Solutions at Unimonte University in Santos, São Paulo.

Though I’m originally from Brazil, I’ve worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for almost 10 years. At the aquarium, I’ve met many Brazilians who are passionate about sustainable seafood. Imagine my excitement when Seafood Watch identified my home country as a key global player due to the rapid growth of its aquaculture and fishery industries.

Cintia Miyaji from Unimonte University was one of the first people I reached out to when we began our efforts in Brazil. Cintia and Unimonte have been at the forefront of seafood consumer education in Brazil, and even created Seafood Watch-inspired pocket guides in 2008. Last year, Cintia facilitated a workshop at the University to mark the beginning of a relationship between Unimonte, Seafood Watch and the country’s scientific community.

Since that initial gathering, we’ve been working together to train our Brazilian counterparts to produce seafood recommendations for seafood of interest in the Brazilian market, using robust science-based Seafood Watch criteria. These trained analysts are now capable of producing reports on the sustainability of wild-caught and farmed species.

The seminar in May connected Seafood Watch with a group that included staff from the global ocean conservation NGOs that are working in Brazil as well as Brazilian government representatives, members of the scientific community, seafood industry figures, chefs and the corporate sector. The goal was to bring all of these stakeholders together, to better understand the scope of each institution’s conservation work related to seafood, and to devise a practical plan for joint action.

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The result? We helped facilitate creation of a Brazilian alliance for sustainable seafood awareness and natural resource conservation. Establishing the group enabled candid discussions on how to address key challenges such as sharing decentralized statistical information, advising on new management tools and fostering consumer education about sustainable seafood.

I feel personally fulfilled by the relationships we’ve established around our common passion for conserving the ocean and Brazilian resources for future generations.

By sharing ideas and experiences, and better understanding regulations and industry operations, we’re taking significant strides together that will advance the sustainable seafood movement in Brazil.