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WDC and leading environment charities launch new partnership to protect ocean wildlife

WDC, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), and Birdlife International today announced a partnership initiative that will mobilise major retailers to reduce the deaths in commercial fishing nets and gear (known as bycatch) of whales and dolphins, sharks, seabirds and other marine mammals.

The partnership will work directly with major retailers, brands, and food service companies to identify threats to endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species in the fisheries that supply their seafood using systematic “bycatch audits.” The audits provide the information needed for companies to identify and prioritise actions to take in their seafood supply chains to reduce the problem. The key findings of the audits will be publicly available on the Ocean Disclosure Project, the leading seafood transparency platform.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of whales and dolphins around the world are accidentally killed in fishing nets and ropes.  Known as 'bycatch' this is the biggest cause of harm and death to whales and dolphins today.

Retailers and major seafood buyers can have a huge impact on protecting ocean wildlife through actions in their global supply chains,” said Kathryn Novak, global markets director at Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

In 2020, Asda became the first retailer in the world to conduct a bycatch-directed audit of its seafood supply chain. The audit recommended actions, including changing fishing equipment or techniques, avoiding certain baits, and increasing observer coverage on fishing vessels. In 2021, Asda announced new bycatch commitments, particularly in tuna longline fisheries.

The first bycatch audit by a U.S. retailer, in addition to audits by a major global supplier and other American and British retailers, is expected later this year.

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