Taking Our Commitments to the Next Level
Our Responsible Sourcing/Vendor Partnership Program (RSVP) is designed to support projects that we believe will lead to a more sustainable future. The purpose of this program is to fund a variety of stewardship projects that support the protection of our most precious of ocean resources. RSVP collectively applies a certain percentage of our purchases to these initiatives.
We work closely with our colleagues at FishWise to vet and select RSVP funding recipients. FishWise promotes the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems by providing innovative market-based tools to the seafood industry. The organization supports sustainability through environmentally responsible business practices while helping us stay connected to the projects we fund. To learn more about FishWise, visit their website.
Learn about RSVP
In addition to our work with the RSVP Program, Santa Monica Seafood is a founding member of Sea Pact; an alliance formed between nine of the leading, like-minded Seafood Distributors in North America. This unprecedented alliance is a first of its kind in the seafood industry. To learn more about the work Sea Pact is doing, visit their website: www.seapact.org
The key to our program is participation. That means we are engaged not just with issues of sustainability but also actively engaged in educating both our customers and vendor network relative to the issues the seafood industry needs to courageously face.
RSVP funding also helps Santa Monica Seafood identify, qualify and verify new (and existing) suppliers. We are vested in making sure that every entity with which we do business shares our commitment to food safety, supply integrity and sustainable practices. Such investment in the supply side of the equation provides both continual assessment as well as gaining valuable insights we can, in turn, pass along to our customers.
To learn more about the current projects we’re supporting with RSVP funds, here is a current list of the initiatives the Company is working on:
Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI) partnered with the fishing Cooperative of Magdalena Bay (CBM) and the non-profit recreational diving organization Reef Check to establish a 1,384.73 ha Magdalena Bay Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 2010. The MPA was established with the intention of recovering the declining abalone, spiny lobster, and finfish populations that the local cooperative depends on. The Reef Check Foundation trained the cooperative members in scuba survey methodologies to monitor and assess the recovery of the marine community within the reserve. Reef Check and COBI have furthered their involvement with CBM to help the fishermen involved to establish a fair market for their catch as well as to improve their supply chain management. The intention of this project is to create a new source of sustainably caught finfish and shellfish for Southern Californian and Mexican markets, to ensure the protection of the marine environment, and to benefit the communities of Magdalena Bay. As one of the oldest and strongest fishing cooperatives in Baja, CBM is setting an example of how ecologically beneficial practices will improve business and benefit the community. COBI continues to work with other Baja California fishing communities on establish voluntary marine reserves for the benefit of their resources.Learn more
The project focus is to integrate social responsibility into the Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) model, and broaden and strengthen the impact of FIPs, as a strong vehicle to drive change and align private sector, non-profit, and governmental actions to improve social performance. They will pilot a new, collaboratively developed Rapid Assessment Protocol for Socially Responsible Seafood, and implement an assurance program in a pilot Fishery Improvement Project (focused on Pacific longline-caught tuna), supporting partner co-learning, capacity development for implementation, and data systems for supply chain management.
SMS Donates Money to Humanitarian Effort
Slavery in the seafood industry, primarily in Thailand and Indonesia, has been THE hot topic in the news lately. Logan Kock, our VP of Responsible Sourcing, recently got wind of a humanitarian effort to rescue a group of 300 fishermen stranded on a few islands in Indonesia. These fishermen had been abandoned by fishing vessel captains who had tricked, kidnaped and imprisoned these impoverished people to live and work on their fishing vessels, sometimes for up to 6 years without returning to shore and typically to help support illegal fishing activities, until such time that they became malnourished and sick, at which time they are dumped on remote islands and left to die.
Logan convinced Michael Cigliano, our Executive VP, that Santa Monica Seafood should use its RSVP fund to wire money to Seafarers Action Center, a Labor Rights Promotion Network to support this humanitarian rescue effort to assist with emergency provisions of food, necessities and, in particular, medicine to help these victims of human trafficking. So, we did.
Santa Monica Seafood not only recognizes the extent to which this human slavery problem exists but also understands every member of the seafood supply chain bears responsibility to help bring it to an end. We urge fellow industry members to join us in the fight to end such inhumane practices.
The lobstering has been pretty slow here on the coast of Maine as we wait for the shedders to show up but the Ready Seafood research team has been hard at work filling and deploying collectors full of rocks for our baby lobster research project. This unique collaboration between Ready Seafood, Santa Monica Seafood and the University of Maine is improving our understanding the early benthic life stage of lobsters.
For the fourth year in a row, our team has spent a Saturday in June at the rock yard filling collectors full of rocks to deploy along the Maine coast. It has turned into a fun annual tradition where family and friends join to fill wire cages full of rocks…all in the name of sustainability!
These rock cages mimic the natural habitat that baby lobsters seek out once they transition from the surface of the ocean to the ocean floor where they will spend the rest of their life. Little known fun lobster fact: after hatching, lobsters spend the first month of their life near the ocean surface going through four different larval stages.
Once lobsters reach their fourth larval stage they begin to do “test dives” to the bottom of the ocean to look for suitable habitat. When you are a lobster the size of a dime, suitable habitat is anything you can hide under. Our cages are the perfect habitat for one-month-old lobsters settling down to the ocean bottom. Last week we deployed all our cages along the coast at three different depth ranges. Each cage full of rocks weighs about 200 pounds so we lower them down carefully…and they weight down the F/V Lil’ More Tail pretty quickly!
Now that all the cages are in the water…we wait. We let Mother Nature do her thing as billions of lobsters hatch, float to the surface and then settle down to the bottom of the ocean over the summer. Early in the fall we will haul each collector back, go through every rock, look for tiny lobsters and this will enable us to compare our results to years past in order to improve our understanding Maine’s lobster resource. Check out the link below for a video we made about the project. If you are interested in the results of this project, don’t hesitate to contact us for more details at firstname.lastname@example.orgLearn more
The Ecology Center, a 1 acre nonprofit hands-on educational center based in nearby San Juan Capistrano, CA, is about to install an sample backyard aquaponics system demonstrating the potential for small-scale backyard aquaculture, sustainable seafood, and organic vegetable production. Located within their geodesic dome greenhouse, the system will contain a 200 gallon stock tank, carry 100 tilapia (of the non-Nile variety), water pump, heating system, biological filter and vegetable growing beds. Throughout the year, they will be holding seasonal educational workshops on backyard aquaculture/aquaponics and sustainable seafood. This program will help bring a greater awareness of sustainable seafood to the public, and can help show how aquaculture is a necessary system for producing food in the future, on both a local and global scale.Learn more
Despite the many values of Bristol Bay, it still faces real threats from a proposed mining development in the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s most productive salmon rivers and lakes. Trout Unlimited, one of the nation’s largest and oldest coldwater fisheries conservation organizations, along with local Bristol Bay Native tribes and corporations, commercial salmon fishermen, seafood processors, and others around the country are working together to ensure that Bristol Bay’s fishery gets the protection that it deserves so that future generations may enjoy this irreplaceable source of healthy and delicious wild salmon.
Some of Trout Unlimited’s research projects helped document, map, and characterize essential salmon habitats in the Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska (near the Lake Clark National Park & Preserve) and helps guide state and federal agencies in their management of Bristol Bay’s fisheries and protection of critical salmon habitat into the future.Learn more
Ocean Outcomes – China Red Swimming Crab Fishery Ghost Gear Management Pilot
The project aims to integrate ghost gear solutions with growing fishery improvement efforts and 1) demonstrate the practical application of ghost gear assessment criteria being developed from the Global Ghost Gear Initiative’s (GGGI) Best Practice’s Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear, and show they can be used as an integral part of fishery pre-assessments to support FIP design or fishery certification processes; and 2) implement fleet-wide measures for the Fujian Zhangzhou Red Swimming Crab Fishery to minimize loss of crab gear and mitigate impacts of ghost gear through a management plan that guides and evaluates performance.Learn more
The Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium – Helping Fisheries Lower Risk of Whale Entanglement
The project will leverage their expertise on right whales and bycatch reduction techniques to create tools that will help Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries meet any new conditions around interactions with North Atlantic right whales to enable them to maintain certification. Combined information from scientific gear trials, population status, and other research with MSC criteria performance indicators will be made publicly available on platforms such as FisheryProgress.org to the benefit of seafood buyers and other stakeholders.Learn more
The project’s aim is to develop environmental DNA (eDNA) tools for early detection of pathogens relevant to aquaculture in Southeast Asia. eDNA is a front-line methodology that can identify and quantify the genetic material of different pathogens present in the water column before a disease occurs. Asia produces 89% of the world’s farmed food fish, and for many aquaculture industries up to 40% of production is lost to diseases. Early pathogen detection is therefore crucial for the successful health management and control of diseases in aquaculture. This project will be able to dramatically improve the response capability of aquaculture farmers to disease risk in SE Asia.
Catalina Sea Ranch – Cryopreservation of Mediterranean Mussel Larvae to Enhance Large-Scale Aquaculture
The project focus is to develop public protocols for cryopreservation of mussel larvae in large-scale commercial aquaculture. The pilot project is an aquaculture enhancement project further developing and applying current research on mussel larvae cryopreservation. The resulting data will be used to develop public protocols for a cryopreservation program that can support a year-round “seed-on-demand” supply system which will transform hatchery production for commercial bivalve shellfish aquaculture. Methods can then be adapted for other species of shellfish.Learn more
Mainland High School – Shell-a-Brate Good Times
This project at the Aquaculture and Marine Science program (Daytona Beach, Florida) is focused on inspiring students toward aquaculture careers. Their project will construct a hard clam hatchery with locally sourced materials. Students will design and implement plans to culture the hard clam from seed to nursery. They will subsequently follow the complete cycle from grow-out to market. A key outcome will be to increase awareness of the growing Florida bivalve aquaculture market to young students in an economically challenged region.Learn more