The next 30 years promises changes on scales, and at a speeds, as yet unimagined by most of the 7 billion humans on this planet. For us to contain global warming to just 2 degrees by 2050, and deal with other climate change related issues, we will need unprecedented performance from our political leadership and governments, businesses, the science community, conservation groups, and individuals. I would like to share some of my insights following nearly 40 years in the commercial fishing industry, in relation to sustainable seafood management, science and conservation.
Austral Fisheries has been at the forefront of ‘sustainable seafood’ for over 20 years. In 2016, the company reached a turning point and took a world first step to fully offset our carbon emissions, to limit the impacts of our fishing operations on the marine and global environment. The journey which has allowed Austral Fisheries to take this leadership position has involved embracing best practice fisheries management through support for strong property rights, effective regulation, evidenced based stock assessments and ecological models, collaborative conservation actions, third party certification, and social responsibility.
The journey has been an evocative mix of drama and intrigue, of senate enquiries and death threats, of pirates and mountainous seas, of politics and collaboration. The common threadsare our reliance on the oceans, our respect for the scientific evidence-based process and our commitment to collaboration and leadership. But it’s also about taking that extra step. For our offsets, we retained a focus taken from our sustainable seafoods journey, to utilise the best, most rigorous approach available. We decided on the Gold Standard approach, which is a certification group for carbon programs which follow Sustainable Development Goals are programs which are proven to be beneficial to the planet, positive for society, and zero harm, all while accurately measuring the carbon sequestration levels. Our hope is to move to some “blue carbon” Gold Standard programs in future, but they’re still in the early stages of development, which we’re now helping with.
We have looked closely at the concepts associated with earning and maintaining a social licence to operate, and obtaining some understanding of the drivers for outrage in the modern context. We explore the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, that progressive business has to make a positive contribution to the great societal challenges by offering goods and services that contribute in balanced terms to our Planet, People, and Profit.
I hope to encourage young scientists to apply themselves diligently to the job at hand, for there is indeed - so much to be done.