SWEDEN’S heir to the throne showed she could match the environmental credentials of her UK counterpart when she addressed the AquaVision conference in Stavanger this afternoon.
Crown Princess Victoria was the star speaker on day two of the event, which is aimed at aquaculture leaders, and her message was ‘we must stop treating our oceans as waste bins’.
Around 700 marine species are threatened by plastics in the sea and by 2050 the oceans could contain more plastic than fish, she said.
Princess Victoria was representing SeaBOS – Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship – an organisation in which she plays an active role.
It has brought together a high calibre collective of international seafood companies, both from the fishing and aquaculture sectors, with Marine Harvest, Cermaq, Cargill and Skretting all involved.
‘The corporate sector is often accused of defending the status quo but there are a growing number of examples proving the opposite, that business teaming up with science can be a powerful driver for change,’ said the Crown Princess.
SeaBOS has brought on board 10 companies that are normally ‘fierce competitors’.
‘They are working together, leading the global transformation towards sustainable seafood production,’ said Princess Victoria.
She told the aquaculture representatives present at the conference, held over two days in Stavanger Concert Hall, that their business ‘is and will be crucial in feeding the world’s growing population – in other words, we need you.
‘To ensure a healthy future for all, we need a healthy ocean; therefore, I’m glad to see you taking action for a sustainable seafood industry, finding new solutions that are both innovative and commercially viable. And by doing so, you are leading the way for others within your industry and outside.
‘In the fight against global poverty, inequality and climate change, the global [UN sustainable development] goals, they are a powerful tool to inspire change. But let’s not forget the goals in themselves don’t change the world, people do…you do.’
Knut Nesse, the soon to retire CEO of Nutreco and chairman of SeaBOS, explained that the group’s vision is to simulate ‘transformative change towards ocean stewardship’.
The industry and private sector should take a bigger role for ocean stewardship and sustainability and it was important that SeaBOS is CEO led.
He said not only did the organisation bridge the gap between the farmed and wild caught sectors, but its member companies also straddled the gulf between the west and Asia.
‘To bridge that world takes a little bit of effort in all humbleness,’ he admitted but said the focus was on meeting the goals established when SeaBOS was set up in November 2016.
While there will be a more ‘future looking agenda’ in one or two years, for now the objectives are reducing illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and eliminating modern slavery; improving transparency and traceability in the global seafood chain; working with governments to improve regulations; and monitoring and tracking progress and learning from successful industry sustainability initiatives.
Four task forces will work on these goals and there will be a meeting in Tokyo in September to assess achievements so far.
Picture: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden