Shar­ing salmon ex­per­tise a ‘win-win’

Fish Farmer - - World News -

THE Global Salmon Ini­tia­tive, set up to im­prove sus­tain­abil­ity in the sec­tor, marked its fifth an­niver­sary in Au­gust.

The group, which now rep­re­sents 50 per cent of world salmon pro­duc­tion, brings to­gether the CEOs of many of the big­gest farm­ing com­pa­nies, as well as feed and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­ter­ests, to shape the fu­ture di­rec­tion of the in­dus­try.

The GSI mem­bers, though com­mer­cial com­peti­tors, agree to share knowl­edge and ex­per­tise to ‘iden­tify and in­te­grate new in­no­va­tions’, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease.

GSI co-chair and Ma­rine Har­vest CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog said: ‘When we started GSI we weren’t sure if it would work.

‘Dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies, dif­fer­ent re­gions, com­ing to­gether to fo­cus on en­vi­ron­men­tal im­prove­ments based on shar­ing best prac­tices could be a win-win for the in­dus­try and the en­vi­ron­ment.

‘We quickly re­alised that we all had com­mon chal­lenges, and that by bring­ing to­gether the best ex­per­tise in the in­dus­try and work­ing col­lec­tively with those CEOs will­ing to take a risk and fo­cus on the long-term fu­ture of the in­dus­try, we could ac­tu­ally start to see im­prove­ments in­dus­try wide.’

The GSI said its model of pre-com­pet­i­tive col­lab­o­ra­tion and col­lec­tive think­ing has been one of the group’s ma­jor suc­cesses.

Ja­son Clay, se­nior vice pres­i­dent, Food and Mar­kets, of the World Wildlife Fund, said: ‘GSI’s ap­proach of iden­ti­fy­ing chal­lenges and cre­at­ing a frank and prac­ti­cal con­ver­sa­tion on how to find so­lu­tions, as well as a plat­form for ex­chang­ing in­for­ma­tion, is what is re­ally chang­ing the game.

‘In no other sec­tor have we seen change at the speed and scale as we have done through the GSI, and it’s the GSI mem­bers’ vi­sion­ary out­look that is mak­ing that pos­si­ble.’

The CEO of BioMar, Car­los Diaz, said the ini­tia­tive had been suc­cess­ful be­cause of the com­mit­ment of the CEOs in­volved and their en­thu­si­asm and in­vest­ment.

In an in­ter­view with In­trafish, he sin­gled out an im­prove­ment in biose­cu­rity as one of the GSI’s achieve­ments to date.

‘We have made very im­por­tant progress in shar­ing knowl­edge, not only be­tween dif­fer­ent play­ers in one coun­try, but be­tween dif­fer­ent coun­tries.’

Another big fo­cus, he said, had been cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, with the ASC (Aqua­cul­ture Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil) stan­dards cho­sen as the pre­ferred scheme.

Five years ago, no farm had achieved ASC cer­ti­fi­ca­tion; today the GSI has more than 40 per cent of its pro­duc­tion ASC-cer­ti­fied and is work­ing to­wards 100 per cent.

Diaz said there had also been progress made on com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but chal­lenges re­mained.

‘We need to com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter the im­por­tance of the salmon sec­tor as a sus­tain­able in­dus­try that pro­vides a healthy prod­uct.’

Above: Ma­rine Har­vest CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog

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