Market Analyst | FAO
Originally from an Irish fishing family and with an academic background in economics, Felix Dent has worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) since 2012. His primary role with FAO has been as a market analyst, with special expertise in farmed finfish, within GLOBEFISH, a unit of the Fish Products, Trade and Marketing (FIAM) branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.
GLOBEFISH’s mission is to produce and disseminate research and analysis on international fish trade and markets to help guide and inform governments, industry, academics and the general public. As FAO and GLOBEFISH representative, Felix has attended numerous conferences, workshops, and forums in many different countries to speak with stakeholders from industry, governments, and NGOs on a variety of topics relating to international seafood markets and trade.
Felix also writes the salmon, pangasius, tilapia and seabass/seabream sections of GLOBEFISH’s quarterly market publication, Globefish Highlights, and is a regular contributor to FAO’s biannual market outlook publication, Food Outlook, as well as FAO’s comprehensive overview of the global seafood sector, State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA).
Propelled by the prevailing economic forces of trade liberalization and global economic integration, international seafood trade has followed a steep upward trajectory over the last half-century.
In 2019, total global seafood export revenue reached an estimated USD 160.5 billion, with the Americas alone accounting for USD 32.9 billion. Together with the rapid growth of aquaculture over approximately the same period, this expansion has seen seafood supply chains undergo significant transformations. New demand in distant markets has created a need to transport fresh fish thousands of miles within hours of capture while growing consumer and regulator interest in the origin of the fish we eat has been the catalyst for traceability innovations and proliferation of certification schemes.
At the same time, geopolitical concerns and trade agreements have become important determining factors affecting seafood market development. In more recent times, however, strengthening demand in developing country markets has seen something of a reversal of the previous paradigm of international trade expansion as an increasing proportion of supply is now absorbed by domestic markets in producer countries.
This presentation will examine these broad global trends at a high level in an attempt to illuminate the future direction of global seafood markets.
In recent years, there has been repeated media coverage and numerous reports of incidents of labor rights violations and human rights abuses at several different stages of the fisheries value chain, with conditions aboard fishing vessels a particularly pressing area of concern. This has underlined the urgent need to establish Social Responsibility as a fundamental principle shaping the objectives of regulatory bodies, private sector stakeholders, and civil society. This need is now beginning to be met by international and national level initiatives seeking to identify the ground-level challenges and offer practical and permanent solutions.
As an intergovernmental organization, a key part of FAO’s role has been to facilitate dialogue between members and to consult with industry and other experts in order to compile a diverse collection of viewpoints on how best to first define and then to address the issue of Social Responsibility.
After multiple rounds of consultation following the mandate from the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) and the Sub-Committee on Fish Trade (COFI:FT), this process has now evolved into the ongoing development of a draft FAO Guidance on Social Responsibility in Fish Value Chains. This document draws on internationally recognized principles to create a set of guidelines for achieving Social Responsibility that are applicable both horizontally across different seafood sectors and different world regions and vertically, meaning that all value chain activities are considered. This presentation covers the development of these guidelines, touching on the motivations, the stakeholders, the core components, and the future timeline.