As a responsible corporate citizen, Sea Harvest believes in conducting its business in a sustainable manner. Not only does Sea Harvest comply with the regulations and quotas imposed by the South African government and other international organizations, but it also plays an active role in creating initiatives for furthering the sustainability of South Africa’s marine resources.
The South African Hake fishing industry is regulated by the South African government in order to ensure the sustainable utilisation of marine and coastal resources.
Through its membership of the South African Deep Sea Trawling Industry Association (SADSTIA), Sea Harvest interacts with government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other interested parties for the benefit of the South African deep-sea trawl industry. A number of committees within SADSTIA have been established to address matters that impact on the Association and its members. The Association also maintains a professional relationship with the scientific community which provides advice on a wide range of issues.
Marine Stewardship Council
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent, global, non-profit organisation that was established to recognize, through a certification programme, well-managed fisheries and to curb over fishing in many parts of the world. The MSC is the world's leading certification and eco-labeling programme for sustainable seafood. Its standards have been developed for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability and meet the world’s toughest best practice criteria.
The MSC certification is the gold standard in sustainable fishing and consumers can be assured that seafood products carrying the MSC label come from a certified sustainable fishery. In 2004, after extensive investigation and verification, the South African deep-sea and in-shore Hake Trawling industry was awarded MSC certification. Sea Harvest played an instrumental role in facilitating this certification. The South African Hake Trawling industry was the first hake fishery in the world to be awarded MSC status.
Every link in the supply chain has to pass a detailed traceability audit annually after which it is awarded a Chain of Custody (CoC) certificate. Sea Harvest has obtained MSC Chain of Custody and all Sea Harvest South African Hake products can therefore carry the coveted blue MSC logo. View the MSC website here.
Responsible Fisheries Alliance in Partnership with the World Wildlife Fund
In 2009, Sea Harvest together with three other South African fishing companies, launched the Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA) in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to support the implementation of an ecosystems approach to marine resource management and thus further promoting responsible fisheries practice in South African waters.
Other Sustainability Initiatives
Together with other industry players Sea Harvest was instrumental in developing an Effort Limitation Model through consensus and then requested government’s Marine and Coastal Management department to introduce it into the deep-sea and in-shore hake sectors. The model limits the catching capacity of rights holders thereby ultimately protecting the hake resource.
Another initiative Sea Harvest participated in was “ring-fencing” certain trawl grounds and consensus was reached not to fish outside these demarcated fishing grounds. This reduces the threat of damage to natural habitats and breeding grounds.
Furthermore by-catch limits have been set in the hake fishery that limit the catching of valuable species such as Kingklip, Monk and Cob, thereby reducing the threat of targeting and overfishing of these species. The company has introduced the use of Tory Lines on all its vessels, thereby greatly reducing the incidence of seabird mortalities. Sea Harvest remains committed to being a responsible fishing company and continues to play its part in ensuring that South Africa’s rich marine resources will be enjoyed by future generations.