Malaysia Aims to Transform Seafood Markets Towards Sustainability

14 Aug 2015, Kuala Lumpur: WWF-Malaysia collaborated with Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Hilton Kuala Lumpur, to host a Sustainable Seafood Business and Aquaculture Forum.

The forum aimed to increase awareness on sustainable seafood production and consumption as well as to create demand for sustainable seafood through responsible seafood sourcing. Apart from promoting MSC and ASC eco-labels and WWF Aquaculture Improvement Programme (AIP), the forum provided a platform for sustainable seafood businesses to network.

“The 2011 survey on the awareness of the status of seafood in Malaysia commissioned by WWF-Malaysia showed that only a quarter of Malaysian consumers are aware of the declining fish supply in our seas. Hence, we have been collaborating with MSC and ASC, which are the highest available standards for seafood sustainability since June 2014, to raise awareness and push for certifications. We recommend businesses to source seafood products carrying these eco-labels,” said Dr Sundari Ramakrishna, Conservation Director, WWF-Malaysia.

“Achieving a level of performance consistent with MSC and ASC Standards has been identified as a challenge among the farms and fisheries in Malaysia. To address this, the forum also discussed opportunities for how businesses can develop supply chain partnerships to source responsible seafood from fisheries and farms who are engaged in AIP with WWF-Malaysia,” explained Ms Chitra Devi G, Senior Sustainable Seafood Officer, WWF-Malaysia.

Under the theme “Connecting the Dots in the Seafood Supply Chain”, hotels, retailers, seafood producers and suppliers, restaurant operators, farmers, fisheries associations, and companies of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) attended the half day forum. Participating businesses heard from experts who shared about the latest developments in the seafood industry.

Selling and promoting MSC certified sustainable seafood as part of your seafood offering means you are supporting fishing communities working hard to fish sustainably, as well as meeting increased consumer demand for sustainable and traceable seafood,” said Kelvin Ng, MSC Commercial Director, S.E. Asia and Hong Kong.

“Sustainability is and remains a core pillar of Hilton Worldwide’s corporate responsibility strategy, Travel with Purpose. This is underscored by our global ban on shark fin in  all restaurants and F&B facilities operated by our owned and managed hotels, as well as our new partnership with WWF to reduce our impact on the environment, including the expansion of our sustainable seafood efforts globally,” said William Costley, vice president, operations, South East Asia, Hilton Worldwide. “With Hilton Singapore now the first hotel in Asia to receive both MSC and ASC certifications, we continue to take steps forward to enhance guest awareness in making responsible seafood choices, and certainly welcome more hotels and restaurants to join this momentum.”

After presentations, a session on the need for Seafood Working Group to be established in Malaysia was discussed. With businesses participating to source, supply and promote sustainable seafood in their establishments, consumers can then support to transform the seafood markets towards sustainability and build a new movement for responsible seafood consumption in Malaysia. 70 participants from 45 organisations, including hotels, suppliers, producers, restaurants and government fisheries agencies, attended the forum.

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