The world’s oceans are one of mankind’s most important shared resources, providing a critical source of protein. But there is increasing scientific evidence that marine seafood resources are being overexploited, leading to the risk of the collapse of key fisheries, with associated environmental, social and economic impacts.
The Fish Tracker Initiative sought to better understand the role of listed companies in seafood extraction, with a view to ascertaining and reducing risks of ‘stranded assets’ faced by investors in the sector.
This resulted in the identification of the first universe of listed companies with seafood production activities, numbering 228 companies with a combined market capitalisation of $518 billion and seafood revenues estimated at $70.6 billion.
However, disclosure among these companies is poor. Only 16% of these listed seafood companies provide sufficient information for investors to understand the sourcing of the fish and the product mix. As a result, the ability of investors to evaluate the materiality of environmental risks for these 228 companies is constrained.
Similarly, only 10% of companies provide assurance to investors and customers through a publicly disclosed sustainability policy.
Fish Tracker’s next step is to engage with investment groups so that they know the number of overfished stocks targeted by the companies they are investing in. The hope is that they will influence these companies as partial owners and propose potential rebuilding scenarios that would allow them to catch 10-20 per cent more fish, while having fewer boats in the water.