Congratulation to Dr Ram C. Bhujel, Director of Aqua-Center and Research Associate Professor at AARM, Department of FAB, SERD for being selected as a member of Technical Advisory Committee – Aquaculture group. He is one of the two aquaculture-professionals from Asia amongst 13 advisors serving for the Seafood Watch program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium headquartered in California, USA. The committee’s task is to review the Aquaculture Standard of the Seafood Watch, which assesses the ecological sustainability of aquaculture operations worldwide. Based on those assessments it makes seafood purchasing recommendations to consumers and businesses across North America and globally. As a part of the review process Dr Bhujel recently participated in a meeting of advisory committee during May 22-23, 2019. During the meeting a wide range of issues were discussed with the objective of helping to make guidelines. The issues included mainly the wild fish decline due to overfishing and environmental problems caused by the rapid aquaculture development happening around the world as a solution to the seafood and nutrition security problem.

The Seafood Watch has been assessing over 1,200 sources of seafood around the world. Based on their assessments they have developed Green, Yellow and Red lists of seafood sources. The ones, which are in the Green list, are recommended for consumers as they do not pollute the environment and affect the natural fish stock. Red listed sources are the ones that are advised to avoid because they either pollute the environment or affect the wild stock and their habitats. The sources which are listed in Yellow category, are improving or under consideration to move towards the Green. The Monterrey Bay Aquarium was established converting the fish processing factories to educate the public after the collapse of fishing industry in 1950s, which used to be the largest fishing industry with the capacity of processing and supplying 200,000 tons of seafood mainly sardine per year. The whole bay area has been converted to National Marine Sanctuary as a part of conservation program where fishing is completely banned. Marine animals such as sardine and other fishes, even whales, sea lions, birds and so on have started to re-appear. The bay has been converted to a tourist spot. This serves is a living laboratory and an example of what can happen from overfishing and what can be done to revive the ocean environment. Seafood Watch program was initiated to spread the lessons learned around the world.

Participants discussing in the meeting
Sea Lions in Monetary Bay