It is well-documented that fish stocks in the oceans are under severe pressure from over-fishing and climate change, and this will worsen as we move deeper into the 21st century. At Sea Harvest our primary responsibility is to ensure that the disruption caused by humans on fish stocks is within manageable parameters, and for this reason we subscribe to an ecosystems approach to fisheries (EAF) which ensures that science-based decision making is at the forefront of all our fishing activities. Felix Ratheb, Sea Harvest CEO, states: “Sea Harvest’s participation in sustainable fishing practices is under-pinned by the industry’s Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification which will ensure that Cape Hake will be available for future generations. Our increased contribution and participation in bodies within the Fisheries Management branch of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the requisite scientific forums, is in order to be at the vanguard of dealing with issues that affect the sustainable utilisation of South Africa’s hake resources.”
As a co-founding member and participant in the Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA), Sea Harvest together with other fishing companies and environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will continue to participate meaningfully in strategic initiatives aimed at strengthening its support in implementing the adopted EAF to protect and enhance the marine ecosystem health as whole, on which ecosystem and human benefits depend.
In support of our sustainability activities on the water, Sea Harvest continues to attempt to reduce its carbon emissions primarily on its largest emitter, its fishing vessels. Sea Harvest’s Group Resource and Sustainability Manager, Madoda Khumalo, remarks: “The emissions from our vessels are dependent on various factors such as distance from the fishing grounds; weather and fishing conditions. Even though it is difficult to decrease the emissions from fuel usage as it is inherently linked to fishing effort, Sea Harvest is investigating modern vessel and trawling technologies to keep its fuel emissions under control.”
At Sea Harvest we also acknowledge that as a company we have a responsibility to develop and implement our own adaptive responses to the effects of climate change. Khumalo comments: “Anthropogenic practices since the industrial revolution are continuing to affect the earth’s energy budget by increasing emissions, resulting in unsustainable atmospheric concentrations of ozone-depleting and albedo-altering greenhouse gases. Sea Harvest’s efforts to mitigate climate change are evident from our land-based operations where an emissions management strategy, supported by our annual carbon footprint report and a recently completed energy efficiency study, were undertaken in an attempt to address our sustainable energy usage.”
In the coming years, climate sensitive practices at sea and on land will take centre stage and the company’s carbon accounts are going to be intensely scrutinised, while at the same time still adhering to our core principle of sustainable fishing practices.
For more information visit http://www.seaharvest.co.za/