Methodology

This tool draws on publicly available FAO and RFMO global production data for farmed and capture fisheries. Proportions of seafood attributed to certification, ratings, improvements, in assessment, and priorities are based on analyses by individual Collaboration member programs.

Status of global seafood

Seafood production charts were generated using global production data for farmed and capture fisheries (for 2016) from FAO publicly available statistics (downloaded in 2018) and RFMO reports. Reports we consulted included those produced by the the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT), International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), FAO, and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Seafood production refers to the defined species groupings as recognized by FAO in the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture Reports. Species groupings applicable to this analysis include fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic animals, and seaweeds, but exclude aquatic mammals, reptiles, and other aquatic plants in the calculations of global productions. Seaweeds are not factored into seafood sector analyses.

Proportions of seafood attributed to certification, ratings, improvements, in assessment, and priorities were based on analyses conducted by individual programs. Data attributed to these analyses were isolated from total global production; additional analyses aligned common efforts across the programs to recognize comparable efforts and reduce overlaps across datasets. Certified, rated, FIP/AIP, and under assessment volumes were removed from the T75 scope where we identified common fisheries across the datasets. Additional overlaps between certified, FIP/AIP, rated, and under assessment volumes were further isolated. Priority volumes were assigned to certified fisheries, fisheries under assessment for certification, and FIPs. Data from the various programs do not represent the same year of data, but the most current available from each program within a few years’ span (2014-2018).

Sector data

Seafood sectors were based on the definitions developed by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership for its Target 75 analyses, and were expanded on in some cases to broaden the sector scope and ensure inclusion of certified and rated species that fall outside of the defined Target 75 sectors. For the purposes of this report and analyses, we provide our expanded sector definitions and identify the FAO International Standard Statistical Classification of Aquatic Animals and Plants (ISSCAP) divisions that the species are grouped within:

  • Whitefish: Both classic whitefish along with other whitefish, for both farmed and wild production. Classic whitefish include species such as flatfishes, pollock, cods, hakes and haddocks, seabasses and breams, and other marine groundfish that are almost entirely wild caught. Other whitefish, largely comprising the farmed proportion of the production, included tilapia (i.e., Oreochromis spp. and Tilapia spp.), pangasius (Pangasius spp.) and other catfishes. Whitefish species captured in this sector are identified within ISSCAP divisions 12 (tilapia), 13 (pangasius and catfish), 31 (flatfish: flounders, halibuts, soles), 32 (cods, hakes haddocks -with the exception of blue whiting and Norway pout, which are within the small pelagics sector of this report), 33 (breams and seabasses), and 34 (other demersal fish).
  • Small Pelagics: This sector was defined with the goal to capture those species that are mostly caught for reduction fisheries along with related small pelagic species. These included the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Target 75 species defined for the ‘reduction fisheries sector’, which are Atlantic/Pacific reduction fisheries generally used for fishmeal and oil in aquaculture feed; Southeast Asia reduction fisheries (including Southeast Asia multispecies trawl fisheries); and directed small pelagic fisheries. This sector also captures other small pelagics that would be recognized under the various programs, such as herrings, sardines, and anchovies. Collectively, the sector includes all species of menhaden, anchovies, sardines, sprats, and herrings from ISSCAP division 35; menhaden, smelts, silversides, Atlantic/Pacific mackerels, and saurys from ISSCAP division 37; krill (Euphausiidae) from ISSCAP division 46; and blue whiting and Norway pout from ISSCAP division 32.
  • Shrimp: All farmed and wild warmwater shrimp and prawns and both small and larger wild coldwater shrimp. Small warmwater shrimp includes species such as seabob. Small coldwater shrimp are predominantly wild and often referred to as “salad shrimp,” or smaller than 100 shrimp per pound in body size. Larger coldwater shrimp includes species such as Argentine red shrimp and spot prawns. With the exception of paste shrimp, this sector includes all farmed and wild shrimp and prawn species from ISSCAP divisions 41 and 45.
  • Tuna: Focus on the following farmed and wild species of tuna: skipjack, albacore, yellowfin, bigeye, and bluefin (Southern, Atlantic, and Pacific). The analysis did not isolate fresh and frozen from shelf-stable tuna as done in the Target 75 sector definition, where the tuna sectors are distinguished by gear and production area to determine which market the species end up in; we further expanded this analysis to capture all bluefin tuna species. Tuna species are identified within ISSCAP division 36.
  • Farmed Salmon: Focus only on farmed salmon, including all salmon species (Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar; Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha; Chum salmon, Oncorhynchus keta; Coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch; Pink salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha; Sockeye salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka; and Masu salmon, Oncorhynchus masou), along with sources of salmon-like species that can substitute salmon in the market. These included Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), sea trout (Salmo trutta), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and trouts nei (Salmo spp.). All species within this sector are identified within ISSCAP division 23.
  • Squid and Octopus: All wild species of squid (families: Gonatidae, Loliginidae, Ommastrephidae, Onychoteuthidae) and octopus (family: Octopodidae) within ISSCAP division 57.
  • Wild Crab: All wild sources of blue swimming crab (Portunus pelagicus) and related crab species (i.e., blue crab, Callinectes sapidus;CentralAmerican swimming crab species,Callinectes spp; red swimming crab, Portunus haanii); crab from tropical and temperate waters, and crab from coldwater regions. Crab species are identified within ISSCAP divisions 42 and 44.
  • Wild Snapper and Grouper: Focus on wild snapper (family: Lutjanidae) and grouper (family: Serranidae) species. Most snapper and grouper species are coastal demersal fish, generally associated with hard-bottom habitats (rocky or reef areas) and considered highly valuable for U.S., European, and some Asian markets. Snapper and grouper species of this sector are identified within ISSCAP division 33.

Seafood sector production charts were generated using global production data for farmed and capture fisheries (for 2016) from FAO publicly available statistics. Global tuna productions were extracted from various sources and relevant RFMOs to reflect best available volumes by ocean region.

Analyses aligned volumes across species and countries and production type (wild or farmed). Beginning with production volumes, additional volumes from each program were extracted and aligned to the appropriate species and country. Species were identified as to whether they were within the T75 scope, and proportions of production volumes were attributed as appropriate. Volumes assigned to the T75 scope were reduced by aligned volumes for certified, rated and FIP/AIP fisheries. Rated volumes were also reduced by fisheries in FIPs/AIPs and  in certification assessment. After alignments were conducted, all program volumes were removed from remaining production volumes to yield final proportions across each program. Data from the various programs do not represent the same year of data, but the most current available from each program within a few years’ span (2014-2018). These alignments allowed us to isolate proportions attributable to the programs and the dominant compositions of those program volumes. These data represent a current snapshot of activity as provided in 2019.