Sound Science and Sustainable Fisheries

Ocean resources, and those who depend on them, are under pressure to meet an ever-growing demand for sustainable seafood.

Despite efforts to increase the supply of sustainable seafood through the implementation of science based fishery improvement projects and third party sustainable seafood certifications, many of the world’s fisheries remain at risk of overfishing, poaching, and other problems. At O2, we believe responsibly managed and sustainable fisheries can be achieved through the use of good science and stakeholder collaboration. That’s why we work on the ground with commercial fisheries and other organizations to improve fishery management practices, reduce illegal fishing, better the monitoring of catches and fish population abundances, and ultimately increase the supply of sustainable seafood.

Our science team serves two primary roles:

  1. We provide the backbone of O2’s fishery improvement work, ensuring our fishery projects are anchored by credible science.
  2. We support other organizations and businesses involved in fisheries sustainability by developing white papers, assessing fisheries, convening stakeholders, and developing sustainability criteria.

Our science team's background and professional experience is diverse--we have worked with a Gulf of California rock scallop fishery to establish a co-management scheme for this protected species; designed and implemented stock assessment programs for Alaska salmon fisheries; helped improve fisheries assessment criteria for seafood certification and recommendation programs; developed criteria to benchmark fisheries certification programs; studied tuna fishery production in Japan; and, advised the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on the development of international fisheries eco-labeling guidelines.

Recent examples of the science team’s work include:

  • Assessment of 11 Japanese fishery species in order to identify best candidates for fisheries improvement versus certification against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard, done for foundations funding sustainable fisheries work in Japan
  • Opportunity analysis for implementing improvement projects for Indonesian tuna fisheries, for World Wildlife Fund
  • Development and implementation of a fishery improvement workplan for Vityaz-Avto and Delta West Kamchatka salmon fisheries, fisheries which recently entered the MSC process
  • Market assessment for the MSC certified Snapper fishery in Costa Rica for Conservation International
  • Development of reports for US and Mexican fisheries used to develop seafood recommendations for Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program

The growth of the sustainable seafood movement over the last decade has brought incentives for fisheries to become more sustainable.

However, navigating and understanding international sustainability standard standards can be a challenge, especially with regard to scientific and technical requirements. Working hand in hand with commercial fishermen, fishing communities, and other stakeholders we support fisheries’ efforts to make sustainability improvements around the globe. We provide comprehensive technical services from initial fishery evaluation through the design and implementation of fishery improvement projects. We’re known for strong partnerships which achieve progress toward sustainable fisheries. For us, improving fisheries means using science and cooperation to solve tough fisheries problems and drive measurable improvements. While the sustainable seafood movement continues to grow and evolve, our science team provides the technical know-how to ensure we have ample seafood resources in the future.