Fisheries to benefit from World Bank grants

The World Bank grant will fund the work of ocean partnerships in promoting sustainable fisheries and marine biodiversity conservation. Credit: Gregg_TLV/CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons The World Bank grant will fund the work of ocean partnerships in promoting sustainable fisheries and marine biodiversity conservation. Credit: Gregg_TLV/CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The World Bank recently has approved a US$9.17 million fisheries project grant that will be divided among five international organisations to fund the work of ocean partnerships in promoting sustainable fisheries and marine biodiversity conservation.

To be used over the next three years, the grant will finance work undertaken by the various selected agencies and NGOs in providing new working models for innovation and reform to support the development of sustainable fisheries and assist in the conservation of marine biodiversity worldwide. 

The Bay of Bengal Programme Inter-Governmental Organisation will receive US$2.2 million of the total World Bank grant while the Conservation International Foundation will receive $2.16 million. 

A further $1.95 million will be given to the FAO for the benefit of member countries of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission, while $1.5 million of the grant has been allocated to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency. 

Also included in the list of organisations to benefit from the World Bank grant is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which has been allocated $1.36 million. 

The World Bank grant is the latest in a series of fisheries related funding initiatives the Washington-headquartered development bank has approved over the past decade to support sustainable fisheries development initiatives that benefit its developing member countries around the globe. 

The decision to approve the new fisheries grant reflects the importance of fisheries to global food supply and the urgent need to protect fishery resources against over-exploitation.

Fisheries and aquaculture provide 16% of global animal protein, according to the FAO. In addition, seafood has an annual first-sale value of more than US$90 billion and is among the most globally traded of all food commodities. 

FAO figures show that seafood exports from developing countries are particularly important, and at over $25 billion a year are substantially higher than other agricultural commodities that include rubber, cocoa, bananas and coffee. 

Fishing communities are among the poorest sectors of society in many developing countries.  

Consequently work to protect fishery resources, particularly coastal fisheries and shared highly migratory fish stocks such as tuna, also supports economic progress in coastal regions and contributes to the World Bank’s overall target of encouraging economic and social development progress among the world’s emerging nations. 

Due to their cross-boundary nature, the management of fisheries consisting of highly migratory fish stocks presents a particularly complex management challenge in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. 

The economic rationale for the World Bank’s targeted involvement in improving the management of shared highly migratory fish stocks relates to the current and future stake held in these fisheries by the bank’s developing member countries. 

According to the World Bank, many of these countries have stated their interest to the bank and various relevant fishery organisations of being involved in the development of a management arrangement to ensure economic benefits can accrue in a sustainable and equitable manner to their individual economies. 

Under the grant-funded programme, fishery consultants will be hired to provide technical assistance and analytical support to identify and design a series of investment proposals for transformational pilot projects to establish well managed fisheries based on shared highly migratory stocks that straddle the EEZ of several World Bank client states. 

The projects will be designed to encourage strong downstream investments in fish processing and storage while separately encouraging the undertaking of best practice reform processes, in particular public and private sector partnerships. 

The pilot schemes are intended to enable fishing communities to maximise potential income from their existing fisheries by upgrading their supply chain operations and by targeting premium regional and global markets with high quality seafood products. 

The Bay of Bengal Programme Inter-Governmental Organisation (BOBP-IGO) will use $1.98 million of its allocated grant to focus on small scale tuna longline fisheries and possibly other highly migratory pelagic stocks found off South India, particularly Tamil Nadu state.

The existing fishery offers potential to use public/private partnership to develop high value niche markets in Asia and Europe. The small scale Thoorthoor fleet in Tamil Nadu has been identified as a potential client for BOBP-IGO to work with in developing a co-management pilot scheme as a business case for future investment. 

In the Western and Central Pacific, the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency is expected to use $1.35 million of its allocated grant to target tuna fishing operations, mainly by distant water fishing nations under the Parties to Nauru Agreement’s Vessel Day Scheme. 

The grant will be used to fund efforts by Pacific states to increase economic returns from tuna fishing licenses by designing and implementing targeted fishing rights-based management reforms, and adopting other initiatives for fishing communities to share tuna fishing license revenues. 

In the West/Central Atlantic and Caribbean, the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission in conjunction with the FAO, will use $1.75 million of its World Bank grant allocation to target billfish which are important to the region’s recreational and commercial small-scale fisheries. 

A consortium of private recreational and commercial fishing interests based in various countries in the region are expected to be involved in one or more pilot schemes which will require establishing institutional mechanisms to create and enforce rights for commercial and artisanal fishermen to adopt catch, release and tagging systems in return for payment for their services from the recreational fishing sector. 

Elsewhere, in the Eastern Pacific, the World Wildlife Fund will use $680,000 of its grant allocation to target skipjack tuna fisheries. These are operated by large scale purse seine vessels fishing in the region, many of which are flagged to Ecuador, Mexico and EU member nations. 

Options to be explored include the use of tradable bigeye tuna catch quotas in exchange for an exemption to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) annual fishing closure; and the introduction of trading for existing IATTC-authorised tuna harvest capacity.

Other options include the development of potential mechanisms to convert fishing vessel hold capacity into a tradable tonnage quota; and introducing other collective or rights-based approaches for skipjack tuna fisheries in the region.

Meanwhile, Conservation International Foundation will use its $2.16 million grant in partnership with the four already-mentioned agencies to support a range of innovative activities focused on improved management of shared highly migratory fisheries.

Planned activities include field tests of new fishing gear and technologies, including those used for fisheries monitoring, control, and surveillance.

Other activities will include analysis and evaluations to inform fisheries management decisions, and the coordination of various events including regional and global workshops to share experiences and lessons learned.

The World Bank grant also includes $1.3 million to establish a Global Think Tank to provide inter-regional coordination, outreach and collaboration between the four regional sub-project activities.

The Think Tank also will be responsible for the effective benchmarking of the overall project’s performance and progress achieved against agreed targets. 


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