Collecting, exporting, and importing and the ultimate distribution of Aquatic Marine Organisms is a complex process. From the point of harvest when a fisherman physically catches a fish or collects an invertebrate, the chain of distribution and the chain of custody begins
Individual fisherman and collector groups operate differently around the globe. Few are non-native professional fisherman working independently, collecting, holding, and exporting their own catch. Some are indigenous peoples who have become professional tropical fisherman and work directly for exporters, catching fish on a daily basis, working consistently weather and demand allowing. More are native coastal villagers, men, women and children alike, who sell their catch directly to an exporter. Most, however, work in remote outposts, living in coastal communities or roving the seas by boat, fishing for sustenance and catching or collecting species for the ornamental trade, selling their catch onward to middle men, who in turn market these products upwards into the chain of distribution. There are countless models and variations to the basic theme, but in the end, desirable species are collected most often by indigenous people and sold onward until they are ultimately exported to consuming countries. The pace at which this process occurs and the duration of transit times and the types of handling and conditions many of these organisms endure is staggering.
For 35 years, Quality Marine has been a pioneer in the Ornamental Marine Aquatic Organism trade. We have witnessed first-hand the steady and continuous increase in both supply and demand, and the ongoing changes in collection and distribution models. We have also seen how increases in the global supply along with increases in the associated costs of collection, transport and holding have put downward pressure on price and have pushed dwindling margins for all participants to an all-time low. When the distance and time from point of collection to the point of export increases, and when margins are squeezed due to increasing costs associated with transport, (fuel, airfreight, etc), coupled with market price reduction competition pressures, husbandry of the animals is often sacrificed. Due to shrinking margins, larger and larger numbers of animals are collected and exported to cover the increasing costs, resulting in even more pressure on the resource and creating even more incentive to harvest irresponsibly or unethically. The shorter the supply chains, the less time and cost associated with the inter-island or regional transport of these organisms, the more the control that can be exerted over the collection of these animals and the handling they endure, and the better husbandry and care that can be afforded.
Quality Marine supports the most sustainably harvested and managed collection sites and sources animals from collector groups rather than middlemen wherever possible. This philosophy helps to reduce transit times to a matter of hours or days, rather than weeks. Shorter supply chains and fewer middlemen eliminate inconsistent levels of care, reduce stress in animals, increase survivability and decrease pressure on marine habitats. In employing our SSC terminology, we are identifying the animals which come to us from our shortest supply chains, reaching the point of export from the point of collection within 24 hours.
Shorter supply chains eliminate inconsistent levels of care, increase survivability, and decrease pressure on marine habitats.
...reduce transit times to a matter of hours or days, rather than weeks.