The project’s research activities

The studies described below provide the latest and most accurate data on sustainable seafood. They focus on the impact of (un)sustainable seafood from developing countries, particularly on poverty reduction and global interdependencies throughout the entire seafood supply chain.

All studies and reports are available online. Their key findings are at the heart of the awareness raising campaign and its related activities.

Study 1: Overview on European Union development work and support in the seafood sector and related policies

Short title: EU development work and policies in relation to seafood from developing countries

Lead: WWF Austria, WWF Spain

The EU supports developing countries through a number of projects related to fisheries and aquaculture. Furthermore, numerous EU regulations have crucial implications for people in developing countries. Their food security and livelihood depend on seafood. WWF provides an overview of the European Commission’s development support in the seafood sector, as well as an overview of related policies. Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, external dimensions of the Common Fisheries Policy, poverty reduction in regard to fisheries etc. are dealt with.

Study 2: Overview on verification means for socially, ecologically and economically sustainable seafood production in developing countries

Short title: Verification means for social, ecological and economical sustainability

Lead: WWF Austria, WWF France

Currently, several means are available for consumers and seafood buyers in Europe to verify whether seafood from developing countries has been produced in a responsible and sustainable way. The variety of certification standards and tools has been rising in recent years. This study provides a comprehensive overview of currently available verification means in relation to economically, socially and ecologically responsible and sustainable seafood throughout the supply chain. The comparison includes :

  • consumer facing ecolabels
  • business to business certification and assessment tools
  • guidelines and criteria at production level, as well as consideration of best practices regarding regulation and management in developing countries
    This comparison includes an analysis of which tools are able to identify and eliminate the following risks throughout the supply chain:
  • illegally produced seafood
  • forced labour and human trafficking
  • unsustainable fishing methods according to WWF’s sustainability definition

Study 3: Case studies

Short title: Case studies

Lead: WWF Austria, WWF Bulgaria, WWF France, WWF MedPO, WWF Spain

More than 10% of the global population depend on fisheries and aquaculture to sustain livelihoods and food security.[1] At least five case studies provide an analysis of global interdependencies of seafood choices in Europe and their impact on people in the developing world. A special focus rests on the implications of exports and sustainable fishery management in regard to food security and livelihoods, but also ecological and economic parameters.

Study 4: North-South trade flows within the Mediterranean

Short title: “Mediterranean Seafood Trade Flow”

Lead: WWF MedPO

Publication date: December 2015

Based on a new database compiling the volumes and values of seafood trade flows between Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Turkey on the one hand, and European countries (EU28 + EFTA ) on the other hand, a detailed study of seafood trade flows within the Mediterranean is being developed. This study contributes to assess the effects of seafood consumption in European countries (EU28 + EFTA) on fish resources, marine ecosystems and welfare of coastal communities and local economies in the South (North Africa and Turkey). It showcases the Mediterranean as a regional model of global N-S interdependencies in seafood flows. The study addresses socio-economic issues along with fishing impacts on marine ecosystems and fish resources as well as artisanal fisheries.

Study 5: Scenarios of future trends in global marine catches and effects on consumption levels

Short title: Future trends in fisheries

Lead: WWF Germany

Fish for food production plays a crucial role in global human food security and nutrition, especially in low income food deficient countries. With the global population expected to grow to 9 billion people until 2050, seafood demand is on the rise. This study scientifically investigates the potential total worldwide catch volume available in 2025 and 2050 if fish stocks were managed responsibly. It helps to understand to which extend consumer patterns in Europe have an impact on livelihoods and food security in developing countries.

Study 6: The interplay between nationally-produced and imported seafood products in the markets of EU Mediterranean Member States (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia and Greece)

Short title: Interplay of imported and nationally produced seafood

Lead: WWF MedPO

Mediterranean Southern Europe’s societies have a particular relationship to seafood. The traditionally high consumption of locally caught fish requires special consideration in the overall approach to sustainable seafood consumption in the region. Production from local coastal fisheries is often strongly overexploited but crucial to sustain the socioeconomic fabric of fragile communities in countries heavily hit by the economic crisis. This production increasingly competes with imports, often from developing countries. Seven Mediterranean countries (Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain) and Portugal account for one third of EU’s fish and fish product imports from third countries. The realities of local and imported seafood (and of their respective fishing communities) are inextricably linked by markets. Therefore, any messaging and advice on sustainable consumption should unavoidably tackle both sources of seafood in a holistic manner. A detailed study on seafood consumption in the selected EU member states analyzing the relative role of local versus imported fish products is being conducted. Conclusions are considered to serve as recommendation for sustainable seafood sourcing in those countries.

show references for this article

[1] HLPE, 2014. Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutrition. A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome 2014. Page 34. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3844e.pdf

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