Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the pelagic fishing sector

Pelagic Fisheries

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were announced in 2015 by the United Nations and 17 SDGs were formulated to contribute to the common goal that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Many organizations contribute to these goals in various ways. The PFA is proud that its members contribute in the most concrete way to several important SDGs: by providing healthy and affordable meals. Even millions per day.

PFA members are responsible family-run companies, mostly going back to the late 19th century, who benefit from several generations of fishing experience. Their aim is to maintain a sustainable fishing industry, both now and in the future, so that the future generations of these companies can also contribute to the goal of food security.

Fishing is an important source of food for countless people for already thousands of years. If we all work hard to strengthen the ties between all stakeholders and continue science-based fisheries management fishing will remain that  sustainable and responsible food supply.

On Friday 23 September, the ‘Sustainable Development Goals flags’ will be raised, on the initiative of Global Compact Network Netherlands and SDG Netherlands. The goal of this day is to show how companies in the Netherlands implement sustainable and responsible business operations. During this day, the PFA and its members will highlight three specific SDGs that are related to pelagic fishing:

SDG 14 – Life below water

Healthy oceans and seas are essential to our existence. They cover 70 percent of our planet and we rely on them for food, energy and water. It provides life to fish which accounts for 30% of the Earth’s biomass and is essential for global food security.

Therefore, SDG 14 emphasizes (among other things) the importance of our oceans and calls for sustainable fishing and increasing scientific knowledge to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

SDG 2 – Zero Hunger

SDG 2 emphasizes the importance of food security. This goal is to end hunger and ensure access for all people to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. Sustainable seafood production is crucial to future global food security.

Another important target within this SDG is the end of malnutrition. SDG 2 addresses the nutritional needs of many groups of people. Affordable and healthy food is essential to end all forms of malnutrition.

SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production

Responsible consumption and production is part of a sustainable food system. Targets within this SDG are focused on producing food in sustainable ways. Examples are reducing food waste and companies that offer sustainability information in their reporting.

PFA president Tim Heddema highlights why these SDGs are so important for the PFA and its members:

“The PFA and its members work every day in the spirit of the SDGs. This already starts with the choice to specialize in pelagic fisheries, which is a very clean fishery with a focus on using and gathering a lot of scientific knowledge, also through data that we provide from our own practical research.

Fatty pelagic fish such as mackerel and herring has the lowest ecological footprint of all forms of animal protein production. Pelagic fish is also very healthy, because it contains high-quality proteins, together with high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids that are an essential part of a healthy diet.

Pelagic fish swim in huge, homogeneous schools of fish and therefore there is hardly any bycatch. Pelagic fishing is not bottom fishing and the use of freezing capacity on board – in which the PFA members are almost unique – means much fewer port calls: all saving fuel.

There is a lot of pelagic fish in the sea and this is fished by our members within their quotas. In addition, our fish ends up for a large part in places in the world where food security is not always certain and where there is the greatest need for fish that is not too expensive.

In short: the SDGs go hand in hand with pelagic fishing. A climate-focused, sustainable form of fishing that produces a lot of affordable, nutritious fish. The PFA therefore considers the SDGs a crucial guideline for a fishery with a future.”

On Friday September 23, the PFA and its members will raise the SDG flag and underline the importance of the SDGs and sustainable and responsible fishing to contribute to global food security. Both now and in the future.

Date Posted: 20th September 2022

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