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The research project High-level dialogue with private sector keystone actors in the seafood industry, led by the centre's associate professor Henrik Österblom, won Sweden Impact Award 2017’s category Social Sciences and Humanities.
The award rewards "synergy between world class research and societal impact". The winner was announced during the Network for Advancing and Evaluating the Societal Impact of Science (AESIS) annual conference, Impact of Science, in June 2017. This was the first time the award was organised in Sweden. It is part of the international AESIS Network, set up to demonstrate and stimulate societal impact of science.
The award is an acknowledgement of several years’ efforts to convene the most significant actors within the seafood industry. It all started in 2015 when research led by Henrik Österblom identified 13 transnational corporations controlling 11-16% of wild marine catch and up to 40% of the largest and most valuable fish stocks. They were described as “keystone actors” because they dominate all parts of seafood production, operate through an extensive global network of subsidiaries and are profoundly involved in fisheries and aquaculture decision-making.
Today, the initiative has materialised into one of the most important cross-sector collaborations within the global seafood industry. It marks the first time that companies from Asia, Europe and the US have come together with the aim to end unsustainable practices such as overfishing, modern slavery and destructive impacts on habitats and non-target species.
During the UN Oceans conference in New York in early June 2017, Österblom and Knut Nesse, CEO of Nutreco, a global leader in animal nutrition and aquafeed, presented the SeaBOS initiative. Accompanied by H.R.H Princess Victoria of Sweden, an Advocate for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, they presented a statement that called for action to protect our oceans.
The initiative will work to include more companies and report on progress on an annual basis, starting with a meeting in June 2018.
Henrik Österblom serves as deputy science director at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He holds a position as senior lecturer in environmental sciences and his primary research interests are 1) Globalization of marine social-ecological systems, 2) International relations and the dynamics of transnational corporations and 3) Seabirds and ecosystem change.
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