THE Global Salmon Initiative, set up to improve sustainability in the sector, marked its fifth anniversary yesterday.
The group, which now represents 50 per cent of world salmon production, brings together the CEOs of many of the biggest farming companies, as well as feed and pharmaceutical interests, to shape the future direction of the industry.
The GSI members, though commercial competitors, agree to share knowledge and expertise to ‘identify and integrate new innovations’, according to a press release.
GSI co-chair and Marine Harvest CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog said: ‘When we started GSI we weren’t sure if it would work.
‘Different companies, different regions, coming together to focus on environmental improvements based on sharing best practices could be a win-win for the industry and the environment.
‘We quickly realised that we all had common challenges, and that by bringing together the best expertise in the industry and working collectively with those CEOs willing to take a risk and focus on the long-term future of the industry, we could actually start to see improvements industry wide.’
The GSI said its model of pre-competitive collaboration and collective thinking has been one of the group’s major successes.
Jason Clay, senior vice president, Food and Markets, of the World Wildlife Fund, said: ‘GSI’s approach of identifying challenges and creating a frank and practical conversation on how to find solutions, as well as a platform for exchanging information, is what is really changing the game.
‘In no other sector have we seen change at the speed and scale as we have done through the GSI, and it’s the GSI members’ visionary outlook that is making that possible.’
The CEO of BioMar, Carlos Diaz, said the initiative had been successful because of the commitment of the CEOs involved and their enthusiasm and investment.
In an interview with Intrafish, he singled out an improvement in biosecurity as one of the GSI’s achievements to date.
‘We have made very important progress in sharing knowledge, not only between different players in one country, but between different countries.’
Another big focus, he said, had been certification, with the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) standards chosen as the preferred scheme.
Five years ago, no farm had achieved ASC certification; today GSI has more than 40 per cent of its production ASC-certified and is working towards 100 per cent.
Diaz said there had also been progress made on communication but challenges remained.
‘We need to communicate better the importance of the salmon sector as a sustainable industry that provides a healthy product.’
Picture: GSI co-chair and Marine Harvest CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog