World Oceans Day: Preserving the planet's life source for future generations

Nomad Foods' chief executive Stefan Descheemaeker issues a call to action for all of us to protect the precious resource that is the world's oceans.

World Oceans Day: Preserving the planet's life source for future generations

Home to most of the world’s biodiversity, the sea sustains life on earth and supports the livelihoods of millions of people around the globe.

World Oceans Day is an annual reminder of the collective impact humans are having on the ocean, and a call to action for all of us to protect this precious resource. As the world’s largest buyer of certified wild-caught white fish, we recognise the responsibility we have to our oceans and in particular our role in encouraging fisheries to continuously improve their practices to ensure the health of fish stocks, vulnerable species and ocean habitats.

At Nomad Foods we are committed to making progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. But no single company can make the necessary headway on SDG 14. Instead, the entire food industry must work collaboratively with governments, NGOs, certification bodies and consumers to ensure our oceans continue to thrive.

What we can do today

From tackling plastic pollution to ensuring fish stocks are robust into the future; and protecting marine habitats to fishing sustainably, there are many ways that we can act to reverse years of careless practices.

Promote best practices for sustainable fishing – To drive change, it is important to share resources and learnings so that together, we can make a meaningful impact. We are proud to be a co-founder of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and have worked with its teams for more than 20 years to champion transformation in the fishing industry. The MSC certification is a way of showing that a fishery meets international best practice for sustainable fishing. Today, more than 97% of the wild captured fish we source for iglo, Birds Eye, Findus and La Cocinera products is MSC certified, and by the end of 2025, we aim to use 100% fish and seafood from sustainable fishing or responsible farming.

Bring others along on the journey – With more than one-third of the world’s fish stocks classified as overfished, it is imperative that we continue to help transition more fisheries globally to certified sustainable practices. This requires a long-term view and collaboration across the supply chain, and we would encourage others to do the same.

For example, in 2020 the Namibia hake trawl and longline fishery became the first fishery in Namibia to be MSC certified. We are one of the first companies to bring products made from MSC-certified Namibian Hake to European consumers, having supported them on their journey to certification for many years. Supporting well-managed fisheries on their journey to MSC assessment is something we will continue doing as certification is essential to increase the future availability of sustainable fish and ultimately, protect oceans and fish stocks.

Forge partnerships to drive change – This year we launched a partnership with WWF to promote biodiversity through nature-positive, on-land farming practices. We are equally committed to working collaboratively with industry-leading groups to protect our oceans.

According to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), between 46% and 70% of floating microplastics in the ocean by weight may be attributed to abandoned or lost fishing gear known as ghost gear. We joined the GGGI in 2020 to help lead the world in the fight against the impact of lost and abandoned fishing gear.

We developed the Ghost Gear Reporter app so that anyone can report the finding of lost gear. Some of our employees voluntarily translated the GGGI Reporter app into seven European languages so local communities can use it more effectively. We applaud the many other businesses and organisations that are working actively to address the impacts of plastic on oceans and the life within them. 

Looking ahead

Oceans are a source of food and oxygen, they protect us from excess heat and carbon emissions and support human well-being. Without healthy oceans, we have a precarious future ahead and we know that much of the ocean is now seriously degraded. World Oceans Day is a day to reflect on what we can do to help oceans recover and a prompt for urgent action to drive positive and long-lasting change, while we still have time. It is also a day for us to celebrate the work being done by companies, experts, governments and individual consumers to protect our oceans for future generations. This is a crucial decade for action and we are proud to be playing our part.

Nomad Foods' chief executive

Topics: Water
Tags: | Biodiversity | resource security | Resource Management
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