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China Daily Website

Summit seeks sustainable future for seafood

Updated: 2012-09-07 20:59
By Liu Xiangrui in Hong Kong (

The 10th International Seafood Summit, currently taking place in Hong Kong, is calling for more efforts to sustain seafood industries in Asia, both marine fishing and aquaculture.

The summit is an annual event that brings together global representatives from the seafood industry and conservation community for in-depth discussions, presentations and networking around the issue of sustainable seafood.

Its goal is to foster dialogue and partnerships that lead to a seafood marketplace that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

Traditionally held in Europe and North America, it is taking place in Asia for the first time. It is organized by SeaWeb, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming people’s relationship with the ocean.

“The intersection between seafood and society is an important one, especially in Asia,” said Dawn M Martin, president of SeaWeb, during the summit’s opening remarks on Sept 6.

“Finding solutions to ensure this global resource remains healthy and available to a growing global population is a shared responsibility — and is especially important in Asia because of the region’s influential role in the global seafood marketplace,” she said.

Figures show that eight of the top 10 aquaculture producing countries are in Asia. Almost 90 percent of global aquaculture production takes place in the continent.

China alone accounts for more than 25 percent of the world’s aquaculture production. It’s the largest seafood exporter at almost $10.2 billion annually.

Martin sees Hong Kong as the primary seafood trading hub in the region, as it has many well-known seafood markets that sell fish from all over Asia, and it is an entry point to mainland China. Martin also noted that the city is readily accessible from destinations around Asia.

More than 500 participants from the seafood community in 46 countries have attended the three-day event, which ends on Sept 8.

Attendees include fish farmers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, food professionals, seafood marketers, and conservation organizations, policy makers, among others.

During its more than 40 sessions, the summit has highlighted the theme “Evolving Solutions for New Horizons.”

It shed light on how to tackle problems related to general marine overfishing and aquaculture, and focused on conservation and improvement of certain species and industries.

Key sustainable seafood issues in Asia — such as food security, driving consumer demand for sustainable seafood, shark finning, live seafood trade and unregulated fishing — also were on the agenda.

Seafood has global social, environmental, and economical implications, so the need to plan for a sustainable future is important. The sustainable-seafood movement has deep roots and a long history in the West.

According to Martin, bringing the summit to Asia is an important step for the sustainable seafood movement to engage more effectively with the Asian marketplace.

“It will be critical to the future success of the global sustainable-seafood movement,” she added.