Tetra Tech is supporting the U.S. Agency for International Development Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) in a multinational effort to increase the sustainability of Asia-Pacific’s invaluable fisheries.

Seafood plays a critical role in global food security and trade, accounting for nearly one-fifth of the world’s protein intake. The waters of the Asia-Pacific region are home to the most biologically diverse and productive ocean ecosystems on Earth, providing food and income to more than 200 million people in the region alone. The United States also imports more than 90 percent of its seafood from the Asia-Pacific region. However, unsustainable fishing practices are threatening the region’s biodiversity, food security, and local residents’ livelihoods.

To combat these challenges and protect U.S. markets and consumers from unsustainable and fraudulent seafood products, USAID selected Tetra Tech to implement the USAID Oceans program. We work with public and private sector partners across the region to develop and implement electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability (eCDT) systems that improve fisheries management; enhance human welfare; and support global interests of maritime security, prosperous markets, and food security.

In 2015 Secretary of State John Kerry announced USAID Oceans, launched to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices through enhanced catch documentation and traceability, strengthened fisheries management, and attention to human welfare issues that span the region’s fisheries sector. Tetra Tech was selected to lead the implementation of the partnership in support of the U.S. Presidential Task Force to Combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud. The program is a collaboration between USAID and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center.

Tetra Tech works with private- and public-sector partners to design and implement transparent, financially sustainable eCDT systems throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The electronic traceability systems focus on priority, at-risk species that are vital for food security and economic growth, tracking the seafood products from bait-to-plate. As the seafood is tracked from its capture at sea through landing, processing, and export, it is ensured that the fisheries resources are legally caught and properly labeled.

To support eCDT system development and implementation, Tetra Tech developed strong partnerships with regional, national, and local governments, and a network of fisheries sector stakeholders including nongovernmental organizations, industry leaders, standards organizations, local universities, and fisherfolk. We also partnered with a network of traceability, technology, standards, policy, and fisheries experts to harness the latest communication and traceability innovations and implementation strategies. The program also leverages the captured electronic traceability data to address fisheries management and human welfare needs, using data to identify and address fisheries challenges. The program advocates for more gender-equitable, fair, and responsible fisheries through capacity building activities, support for policy development, and strengthened regional collaboration.

USAID Oceans works across the Asia-Pacific region, with learning sites in General Santos City, Philippines, and Bitung, Indonesia, where program interventions are developed and piloted. Program learning sites provide valuable experiences that are shared with other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries, where additional technical guidance is provided to support eCDT, fisheries management, and human welfare initiatives.

Since its launch, USAID Oceans successfully deployed five custom traceability technologies in Southeast Asia’s seafood supply chains, which tracked nearly 3 metric tons of seafood. The program leveraged more than $1.4 million from public and private sector partners to increase the sustainability of USAID investments, with high-impact partnerships with organizations including Thai Union, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, and the Global Dialogue for Seafood Traceability. The program also has developed more than six Sustainable Fisheries Management Plans to protect more than 62 hectares of marine space. The team also trained more than 1,200 regional stakeholders in program technical areas, including electronic catch documentation and traceability, sustainable fisheries management, public-private partnership development, and human welfare and gender equity.