MSC awards more than £200,000 for research projects in small-scale and developing world fisheries

MSC According to Vinod Malayilethu of WWF-India, the award will support the establishment of fishery management and actions plans to ensure the sustainability of both baitfish and tuna fisheries in Lakshadweep

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has awarded more than £200,000 in funding to five projects that will aid small-scale and developing world fisheries in achieving sustainability. The award is part of the MSC’s Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund that was established in 2015 in recognition of the difficulty that these fisheries have in reaching the MSC Standard. 

A total of 43 applications were received this year, out of which five were chosen. These cover a diverse range of areas such as crayfish fishing in China, octopus fisheries in Senegal, stone crab fishing in Chile, baitfish fisheries in Indonesia, and baitfish and tuna fisheries in India.

The organisations awarded the funding are the China Aquatic Product Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), ECOS Research Center and the Ancud Crab Productivity Committee, the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), WWF-India, and the Network on Fisheries Policies in West Africa (REPAO).

“I am once again very impressed with the calibre of proposals that we received this year and pleased to see that the volume is increasing,” said MSC’s Science & Standards Director David Agnew on announcing the awards.

“Projects like these, that address the gaps faced by small scale and developing world fisheries, are critically important to the sustainability of the industry worldwide. We are already seeing progress from the projects we funded last year and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this year’s awardees.”

China produces two thirds of crayfish globally. China Aquatic Product Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA) and partners including IKEA will be working with crayfish fisheries in Hubei province and the Yangtze River ecosystem on a pilot project to engage small scale fisheries with the MSC program and bring sustainable crayfish to a global market.

“CAPPMA, as the national fishery association of China, will work with local stakeholders to promote the crayfish industry towards sustainable development, to improve fishing practices of the typical small-scale, crayfish fishery in China, and to demonstrate the harmonisation of livelihood, ecological and social effects for small scale fisheries, with support from this award IKEA and the MSC China office,” commented Ping Yang from CAPPMA.

Chile has a large and diverse artisanal fishing sector, operating on approximately 141 species. ECOS Research Center and the Ancud Crab Productivity Committee have been awarded GFSF funding for the second time and will design and implement a sustainability improvement action plan for the stone crab artisanal fishery in Los Lagos, Chile. This pilot project will provide a framework for other Chilean artisanal fisheries to work towards sustainability and MSC certification.

Indonesia is the world’s largest tuna fishing nation. CEFAS, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, will be working with partners including the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) to build fisheries science capacity and carry out stock assessments on Indonesia's small pelagic fisheries, which provide baitfish for the region’s pole-and-line tuna fisheries.

Although India’s seafood exports are at a record high, there is only one MSC certified fishery in the region. WWF-India will create fishery management and actions plans to ensure the sustainability of both baitfish and tuna fisheries in Lakshadweep, a region which depends on fishing for income and as a food source.

“Pole and Line skipjack tuna fishing is one of the few sustainable fishing practices in the North Western India Ocean and is a major source of livelihood for fishers in the Lakshadweep islands,” said Vinod Malayilethu of WWF-India. “I am very excited to receive the funds from the MSC as it will greatly help in addressing the gaps identified during the MSC pre-assessment process and help the fishery to become MSC certified in the future.”

Senegal has spent many years improving the sustainability and management of its octopus fisheries. TheNetwork on Fisheries Policies in West Africa (REPAO), in partnership with the Directorate of Marine Fisheries, will build upon the sustainable management achievements of the artisanal and industrial octopus fisheries in Senegal, to carry out pre-assessments and develop actions plans towards MSC certification.

“It is now exactly ten years since we started work towards the certification of artisanal fisheries products!” said REPAO’s Papa Gora.

“This is an important challenge as we perceive that non-sustainable fishery products will have a very limited market share in the years to come. Certification without artisanal fisheries products would threaten market access for fishery products originating from developing countries, notably Senegal. Obtaining this funding for the octopus fishery in Senegal is a great opportunity for us to make possible the eligibility of this product for MSC certification.”

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