Certifiably Sustainable: Ocean Gems’ mission to protecting our oceans

January 13, 2022

Makiko Karasawa, one of our founding team members, was in Hong Kong for their Sustainability Month in October. It's a time when environmentally friendly items are pushed and praised. Makiko was having fun at the party when she met a woman who owned a cafe. Regardless of the reason, the woman told Makiko that she only offered sustainable products. She was born into a family of fishermen that dated back at least five generations, but she and her siblings were forced to quit their ancestral trade. Their family couldn't catch any more fish because there were none left. They all went into different fields, and the woman started a cafe. She was dedicated to solely selling environmentally friendly products in order to safeguard the oceans and other families like hers. Makiko was deeply moved by this woman’s story and how it connected to our larger environment. We were also inspired and determined to become sustainable ourselves. 

Fish and other seafood are potentially a great renewable resource. But they need to be carefully managed to make sure fish stocks are not over-exploited.

What is happening to our oceans?

What is happening to our oceans around the world is a disconcerting reality, but it is not hopeless. Since the dawn of time, these abundant environments have sustained and fed our people. Our impact on the water grew as technology evolved and our ways of obtaining food became more industrialized. Green Peace, a non-profit dedicated to environmental protection, reported that: 

“Climate change and ocean acidification —both the result of our reliance on fossil fuels — are having more and more extreme impacts on ocean health. Today, overfishing and bycatch kills about 63 billion pounds of marine animals every year, and human activity is disrupting the balance of marine ecosystems across the globe.”

Many communities rely on fishing for both cultural and nutritional reasons. There are fishing methods that are designed to benefit the ecosystem and act as a natural part of it. At Ocean Gems, we are devoted to changing our production techniques to be more environmentally friendly, and we're encouraging our partners to do the same.

Leading the way on sustainability

The problem of climate change may appear evident, but the answer is less so. It's a long road to becoming fully sustainable, and Ocean Gems is still making progress. We look for farms, facilities as well as business partners who share our commitment to sustainability. We look for BRC, IFS, ISO and HACCP-certified, US FDA, and EU-approved farms, as well as suppliers who are just getting started but are truly keen to becoming sustainable. 

Future Goals

For sustainably produced choices, look for our goods with the MSC, ASC, BAP, or Origin Green labels. Currently, not all of our items are certified but we are not stopping there. Ocean Gems commits to continuously source and pack its products from fisheries that practice their catch/ farm and harvest theories that are not far from the truly certified ones. It is a long journey for all to work towards to. 

Today, many fisheries are determined to have sustainable practices but may not be certified yet. However, our expert team will audit and inspect before committing to work with a fishery or aquaculture practice until we are satisfied with their sustainable practices.

There is no end goal to this. It is a continuous journey that we are committed to practice for us, for our customers, for our next generation
You can come to us anytime on how you can be a champion to protect our seafood industry.

Share Article