I remember my mom used to talk a lot about sustainability while I was growing up. We would go on the company’s fishing boats and she would say :
“This won’t always be this way.. resources are not infinite and you need to be mindful of that, it will be the challenge of your generation” Well, I did not fully grasp what my mom meant back then and certainly today it took me a while to fully understand what sustainability really meant in the food industry. So here’s a definition I really like: ” It is understanding how actions affect future generations and making sure we do not deplete all of our resources ” 
So what is the fishing industry exactly and why does it matter.. at all? First, the export value of world trade as of 2014 was US$ 148 billion. From seafood exports, 54% came from developing countries. Also, around 12% of the world’s population relies on fisheries and aquaculture for they livelihoods. 
Last, this global industry sector provides 2.9 billion people with 20% of their animal protein needs 
Climate change has made a tremendous impact on the industry as oceans are drastically changing and the marine ecosystems are experiencing massive variations . Among this conditions, there is temperature,salinity, sea ice extend, oxygen levels and circulation. What does this represent for the fishing industry?
* Changes in primary and secondary productivity
* Change in distribution of species (due to water temperature and salinity)
* Timing of biological events 
Important fact —> scenarios with high emissions (meaning changes in the ocean’s temperature greater than 2 degrees warming) would reduce the industry’s revenues by 10% and scenarios with low emissions ( ocean warming of 2 degrees or less) would represent a 7% decrease in revenues 
A research conducted by the University of British Columbia proposed management of ecosystems as a way to build climate change resilience. They came up with three management scenarios :
- Closing the high seas for fishing (high seas are areas of the ocean that are outside jurisdictions of any country and cover nearly two thirds of the ocean surface)
- Seeking international cooperation to manage/cap fishing
- Maintaining status quo (each country/company self regulates its catch quotas)
SCENARIO 1 turned out to be the best possibility.
This theory rose a particular interest in one of the largest fishing industry incumbents :
Nissui: Nippon Suisan Kaisha
Nissui is based in Japan, It is one of the largest in the world with global operations that include 61 subsidiaries and 44 associate companies across the world. 
It was surprising to me that Nissui would be interested in adopting such a measure for sustainable oceans. I believe that there are many issues that companies and governments need to address in order to be able to implement such management of the ecosystems as a way to cope with climate change.
I do want to discuss the operational and political impact of such iniciative.
Because high seas are outside any country’s jurisdiction, I wonder if this initiative could be undertaken by countries as a sustainability approach in this industry or by all means needs to be a private initiative? Second, from an operational stand point this would mean that there needs to be a massive shift in the global supply chain of seafood, specially at the sourcing. Are companies in favour of closing the high seas for fishing the ones that actually have the infrastructure to move to farm fishing, as is the case of Nissui? Because if there is no possibility of sourcing from the ocean, the immediate step would be moving to farming… how exactly will that benefit all the informal small fishing companies in emerging countries?
None the less, it is an initiative that should be taken in consideration and for doing so there are a few things that I believe Nissui needs to do in order to push this initiative forward.
- There needs to be some monitoring or collection of information about how the fish species behave once catch quotas are limited or drawn to zero.
- There must be a way to trace the supply chain and how the demand is being sourced exactly. Since they are a global player, it is a great opportunity to obtain information in different geographies.
- Identify -from within their infrastructure- if they are ready to alleviate the increase in demand for farmed fish
Only after this isolated trial would Nissui be able to predict if limiting high seas catch would provide a positive and sustainable outcome not just for the marine ecosystems but to all aspects impacted by such a change.
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- Mazzetta Company, LLC. Responsibility and Sustainability Report http://www.mazzetta.com/PDFsub/Corporate_Responsibility_Report_compressed.pdf#page=14
- Marine Stewardship Council, The Seafood Economy. https://www.msc.org/healthy-oceans/the-oceans-today/the-seafood-economy
- Secure sustainable seafood from developing countries, www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aaa4639
- Cheung, W. W. L., Jones, M. C., Lam, V. W. Y., D Miller, D., Ota, Y., Teh, L. and Sumaila, U. R. (2016), Transform high seas management to build climate resilience in marine seafood supply. Fish Fish. doi:10.1111/faf.12177
- Vicky W. Y. Lam et al, Projected change in global fisheries revenues under climate change, Scientific Reports (2016)
- Fujita R, et al. Managing for a resilient ocean. Mar. Policy (2012), http://micheli.stanford.edu/pdf/
- Nissui http://www.nissui.co.jp/english/