(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear members of SeaBOS,
Transforming the global seafood industry is no small task. It is more like turning an ocean liner around: It is difficult, because of its size. But its size is also what makes it worth turning.
Ever since the very first Keystone Dialogue in the Maldives, where some of you were present, I have followed your work closely. I receive regular briefings on the progress of the different task forces. And I am proud to be a part of this unique initiative.
Over the past four years, you, the members of SeaBOS, have demonstrated real leadership. You have had the courage to listen to science. And the integrity to let that knowledge guide your decisions. Even when that has meant challenging standard business practices.
At this moment, the world needs that kind of leadership. Maybe now more than ever:
We are facing a catastrophic decline in biodiversity, both on land and at sea. Climate change is causing marine species to disappear from their habitat twice as fast as land animals. And rising water temperatures put farmed fish at increasing risk of disease. Meanwhile, combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing remains a huge global challenge.
Ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the global seafood industry:
You are used to working towards clear and ambitious goals.
You know the power of honouring your commitments.
And you are not afraid to exercise leadership.
I am convinced that if anyone can achieve a global transformation towards sustainable seafood production and a healthy ocean, you are the group to do it.
And if you do that – if you show the world that this can really be done – I know that others are going to follow.
There is a wide range of industries that depend on the ocean. And many other sectors that depend on other ecosystems and the services they provide.
These industries are looking to you right now. They are ready to follow in your footsteps – to take your lead. But they need to know that it will be worth the effort. They need to see results.
Dear members of SeaBOS:
I recognize the greatness and complexity of your task.
I have the utmost respect for the difficult decisions that you have had to make and to gain acceptance for.
And I am well aware of all the hard work that you have put in – from science and from business – to come this far.
However, at this point, I need to stress how urgent it is that we keep moving ahead, on all fronts.
This is not the time to postpone important decisions.
This is not the time to duck away from responsibility.
This is the time to set ambitious and time-bound goals.
The time to act – and to turn the ship around. Before it is too late.
So please, let us show the rest of the world that this can be done. And let us make the most of these coming two days.