Commentary

See all articles

Time to bang down the door on climate change

Changes in the environment will have a bigger, more stomach churning impact than anyone might imagine.

Your industry is under extreme threat. Not from trade tariffs, not from lack of markets, not from heavy-handed regulators, but from a far bigger monster sneaking over the shadowy horizon, more covertly than you or I might appreciate in our lifetime.

Climate change in its whole array of guises is shaking the trees across the world and as an industry so reliant on the subtleties and perfections of our environment, the seafood sector is laid bare on the path ahead.

The pattern of change and impact is clearly drawn out for us at IntraFish. Just this week we have penned stories on early pollock spawning, falling financials and long-term fishery closures, all spurred by climate change.

But as the headlines build, the industry seeks to hide behind a wall of self-justification and a shrug of the shoulders: Climate change is, like a foreign art house film, slow-moving, depressing and at times hard to comprehend.

At the extreme end of the field, some don't believe it's happening -- an interesting, self-absorbed perspective that perhaps comes from eating too many Big Macs or Cheetos -- but assuming our readership has far more intelligence than that, I wonder why the sector is not doing more to save itself in light of such a huge threat.

Rising sea temperatures, disappearing stocks, increased ocean acidity, flooding, drought, fire: For an industry innately tied to the environment, the international seafood sector shows very little concern for the potentially irreversible damage being done to its production grounds.

There is a real irony in that fact that seafood has broken ground in answering to its own environmental impact -- the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, the Global Salmon Initiative, MSC, ASC -- but has apparently done very little to influence the larger picture of big industry, governments and consumers crapping in its backyard. Isn’t it about time you took some action to stop what is potentially the biggest disaster your industry will ever encounter?

This week’s results from Sanford sparked a headline you should expect increasingly to see: “Climatic change drags down full year results": while climate change's first effects will be seen in the supply chain, the second inevitable victim is financial.

And where it isn't simply wiping out stocks, climate change is set to shift the shape of seafood production to a new, unrecognizable landscape. The conceited assumption that no one can farm salmon outside of the ideal climatic conditions of Norway, Chile, Canada, Scotland? Well, soon you might not be able to either.

So, go ahead and spend €35 million branding your superior salmon, but for God’s sake, put a further €100 million into doing all you can to slow climate change, whether that be lobbying government or educating consumers, because while your own transparency and corporate responsibility is winning you stars, the sky in which you place them is falling.

Latest news
Most read