Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Our fisheries, our future. Sustainable fishing in the developing world

Our fisheries, our future. Sustainable fishing in the developing world


I’m a skipjack fisherman I’m from a fishing family I’m a third generation fisher I’ve been fishing since I was 17.
My work starts at 12 at night and finishes in the early morning. 600 boats more or less. I know where the hotspots are. That is where
I set my net for sole fishing. People have relied on the oceans as a source
of food and for their livelihoods for thousands of years. As technology has advanced we have been capable
of fishing more intensively. So looking after the oceans and the resources they provide
is more important now than ever before. If the oceans are to be healthy, productive
and full of fish in the future, we have to fish sustainably. Sustainable fishing reduces environmental
impacts, leaves more fish in the sea and harms fewer marine animals. Sustainable fisheries have good management
practices. Sustainable fisheries have good management practices. The Marine Stewardship Council standard allows
fisheries to show that they are well managed, and that they fish in a sustainable way. The MSC uses its blue ecolabel to identify
seafood that has come from sustainable fisheries certified to its standard. The Ecolabel is already displayed on tens
of thousands of products in over one hundred countries around the world. Consumers who want to play their part in maintaining
and improving the health of the oceans can look for and choose seafood with the distinctive
blue MSC Ecolabel. The MSC standard is open to all fisheries
that would like to be recognised as sustainable. To be certified as sustainable, a fishery
must be able to meet all three principles of the MSC standard. The fishery must leave enough fish in the
sea so that stocks can reproduce and fishing can go on forever. Fishing operations need to be managed so that
the wider marine environment, other plants, animals and habitat can flourish and support
life. The fishery must have good management in place. It is vital that we safeguard the oceans resources
and protect people’s livelihoods for the future. To do this we need to work together. In this film we are going to look at how the
MSC is working with three particular fisheries. In the Gambia, which is working towards MSC
certification. A fishery in Mexico which was re-certified in 2011. And a fishery in the
Maldives, which was certified in 2012. An Organisation here called GAMFIDA, the Gambia Artisanal Fisheries Development Agency expressed
interest that the MSC comes here and look at what we’re doing here to get some of our
fisheries certified. A pre-audit was done. I think this was the
first step. The Pre-audit was very good for Gambia because it will tell you what stage
you are, at what level you are and they identified gaps. I think it was nine areas. So we developed
an action plan to address these nine areas. This is how we started.
In the Maldives we first underwent an initial assessment phase and qualifying for that meant
that a very detailed assessment and study of how we fish, how the data is being collected,
what sort of research we do. We started the process and halfway through
we had to stop it because there was no skipjack stock assessment done in the Indian Ocean.
Well the biggest improvement that we had to make as far as skipjack is concerned is to
improve the stock assessment work. But Maldives have been collecting fisheries
data since 1956 and based on that data, skipjack stock assessment was done and then we restarted
the full assessment. With the Lobster fishery here in Mexico the
region that is certified by the MSC has been controlled because the fishing co-operatives
are very well organised which is really important when you want to really develop a sustainable
fishery. During the certification process It’s very
important that both producers and traders participate because they both share interests
in perceiving conservation as a business. You have several ways of doing fisheries from
artisanal fisheries all the way to really heavy industrial fisheries, and MSC has been
adapting its system in order to take into consideration all varieties of fisheries. Fisheries have found many ways of meeting
the costs of certification. Our biggest challenge was trying to meet the
cost of certification. The funds are provided by the government and
people of the United States of America. So of course you also have the University
of Rhode Island, they have been sending their experts here to work with us and Kaufland
decided they were going to contribute 25, 000 Euros to this. And there was another 25,
00 Euros earmarked to go as direct support to the fishing communities. Kaufland, WWF, The University of Rhode Island,
all these are important partners in our drive to get the fishery sustainable It’s just a matter of not doing it single-handedly
but doing it collectively. Working in partnerships is vital to support
certification for small-scale and developing world fisheries
The government was very keen to take the Maldives Pole and Line fishery for global recognition
and hence the government supported the whole cost. The government, the private sector, the fishing
industry have worked together along the way in terms of the technical support that is
required, in terms of providing the data and in terms of the commitment that needs to be
given to ensure that MSC certification continues on. During the first certification, as far as
I know, the government was interested to have a fishery certified. The government has supported this process
by providing the scientific information from a research program along the West Coast of
the Baja California. The benefits of getting certified from the
point of the industry, are that, there has recently been a high sense of recognition.
People are interested, buyers are interested. There is the scope for a higher value to be
obtained for the Maldivian fish product. This means that the benefit gets transferred to
the local fishermen Due to the certificate we believe that we
will be more successful in selling our tuna to the European market and earn more from
this. We have been getting a premium which we have
been passing on to the fishermen and their health, education is being taken care of. So there have been many interesting benefits
here. For example before we were responsible for providing our own water, electricity,
and basic utilities. After the certification process the international
recognition gave them the power to lobby and negotiate with the Mexican authorities. This
allowed for their demands to be met, which were for the provision of utilities. The truth is that it is clear that things
are very different now. All the biological, social, economic are all
contained in the environment. So any injustice you do on any of those areas you are really,
directly affecting the environment. Along the coast we have identified areas as
breeding grounds of different species coming here during seasonal breeding periods. We call them spar-buoys. They are indicators
for people to know that where the buoy ends to onshore is a no go zone. It’s an area closed off from May to October
each year to conserve and get this stock regenerated. To achieve the sustainability in the Lobster
population is very important because it warranties the lobster catch for fishermen. What happens is that the lobsters carrying
eggs must be carefully returned to the sea. Lobsters are full of small eggs and therefore
they must be carefully treated, because that’s where sustainability starts. We have to take care of this part to guarantee
a good future. There is no other way. So, release them to
the sea… It is very important to have an ecolabel and
MSC is one of the most recognized labels by industries and the retailers. MSC certification is not just a seal on your
product I believe it’s something more than that. It takes your fishery to another level
it helps to keep the fishery managed, sustained, have areas of scrutinisation to make the fishery
more developed and helps you to sustain it for generations to come. We are dealing with a resource it has to be
managed, it has to be sustainably managed. Otherwise it will not be there for our future
generations to use. When it comes to the pole and line skipjack
fishery those who deserve the benefit most are our local fishermen because their century
old practices and their efforts have made us achieve this certification. This needs to pass on to other generations
the way it has been passed on to them by their forefathers. Sustainable fisheries is our responsibility.
We have to care for it for the future.

3 comments on “Our fisheries, our future. Sustainable fishing in the developing world

  1. 'Our fisheries, our future' follows three developing world fisheries, (the Gambia red and black sole, Mexico red rock lobster, and Maldives skipjack tuna fisheries), that are using the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) program to improve their management, improve their environmental outcomes, increase their access to markets and so enhance their economic and social welfare.
    The fishers, managers and other stakeholders of the respective fisheries speak in their own words about how they became involved with the MSC program; the progress they have made in improving and developing the fishery; how they secured funding for their improvement plan and certification; and the benefits and impacts of involvement in the program, in environmental, social and economic terms.

  2. 'Our fisheries, our future' follows three developing world fisheries, (the Gambia red and black sole, Mexico red rock lobster, and Maldives skipjack tuna fisheries), that are using the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) program to improve their management, improve their environmental outcomes, increase their access to markets and so enhance their economic and social welfare.
    The fishers, managers and other stakeholders of the respective fisheries speak in their own words about how they became involved with the MSC program; the progress they have made in improving and developing the fishery; how they secured funding for their improvement plan and certification; and the benefits and impacts of involvement in the program, in environmental, social and economic terms.

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