Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Partners with USAID to Combat Illegal Fishing and Promote Sustainable Fisheries in Southeast Asia

Sep 12, 2016

Seafood Watch

Monterey, CA, September 12, 2016 – Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch ® and the United States Agency for International Development Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) have just launched a partnership to improve the traceability of seafood products entering the North American market.

The partnership will also aim to accelerate progress on the sustainability and responsibility of fisheries in the Asia-Pacific region, the world’s largest seafood exporter and home to rich marine ecosystems. USAID Oceans, a regional program that works to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Asia-Pacific region through enhanced catch documentation and traceability, is pleased to announce its collaboration with the leading North American seafood ratings program, Seafood Watch, which informs seafood purchasing at more than 100,000 business locations.

”This partnership with USAID Oceans is an exciting step toward ensuring greater environmental sustainability, transparency and fair labor practices  in global seafood supply chains,” said Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, director of global fisheries and aquaculture for the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium. “Together, this partnership will harness technical experts, major seafood business partners and on-the-ground producers to bring about dramatic and positive changes in Southeast Asia’s seafood supply chain and serve as a model of collaboration for other regions around the world.”

“IUU fishing remains one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems, undermining national and regional efforts to manage fisheries sustainably and conserve marine biodiversity,” according to FAO’s recently released The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. The report estimates that “IUU fishing takes up to 26 million tons of fish each year, or more than 15 percent of the world’s total annual capture fisheries output.” With the US standing as the world’s largest seafood importer, importing over US $20 billion worth of fish and fisheries products in 2014, and the Asia-Pacific region serving as one of the world’s largest export markets, the USAID Oceans and Seafood Watch Partnership creates a strong platform for international engagement. (FAO)

Together, USAID Oceans and Seafood Watch will build partnerships and solutions with seafood buyers in North America, and with fisheries companies and organizations in the Asia-Pacific region, to better manage fisheries and to ensure that fisheries products are legally caught, processed, and distributed according to the highest standards of environmental sustainability and labor laws.

Robust, digital catch documentation and traceability, central to USAID Oceans’ mission, will enable seafood to be traced from “boat to plate,” enhancing transparency and visibility in complex global seafood supply chains, all the way through to export to US, EU, and neighboring ASEAN markets.

The Seafood Watch program assesses over 80% of seafood by volume consumed in the US market, and helps major businesses and individual consumers make choices that support a healthy, sustainable ocean. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch science-based sustainability standards encourage environmentally sustainable practices, and its partnerships with major seafood buyers create market incentives for well-managed fisheries to maintain strong regulations, traceability, and high environmental performance. 

The partnership will support the expansion of a digital catch documentation and traceability system in seafood supply chains; strengthen Seafood Watch’s engagement with industry associations, fisheries, and NGOs in Southeast Asia; and provide practical solutions and recommendations on traceability and sustainable fisheries for businesses in North America to use when making decisions on responsible seafood sourcing and purchasing.


USAID Oceans represents a partnership between USAID, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), and the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF). SEAFDEC is the technical and operational arm for fisheries matters in the region, and is engaged in the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Strategic Partnership (ASSP). ASSP works to enhance cooperation between ASEAN, SEAFDEC, and its member countries and recognizes USAID Oceans as an official ASSP program.


The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program empowers consumers and businesses to choose seafood that's fished or farmed using responsible methods that protect sea life and habitats, now and for future generations. Seafood Watch’s widely recognized and respected science-based recommendations, indicating which seafood items are “Best Choices” or “Good Alternatives”, and which ones to “Avoid”, are available in its free app and at


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For more information, contact:

Melinda Donnelly, Communications Specialist, USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership, +66 (0) 94 771 9782


Emerson Brown, Communications Associate Manager, Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood, 831-647-6856



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The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean.