A paper recently published in the journal Science drew attention to the rising interest in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), initiatives through which a number of stakeholders collaborate to drive improvements in the sustainability of a fishery’s practices. Many FIPs are established in small-scale and developing world fisheries. These fisheries provide a vital source of income for over 90% of the world’s fishers, but often lack the funding and detailed evidence required to achieve full certification.
Dr Amadou Tall is a former member of the MSC’s Technical Advisory Board. His vision is to see the MSC boost its presence in Africa and other developing regions as he believes there is now a political will to manage such resources responsibly.
How would you describe your time on the MSC Technical Advisory Board?
One of the first things I learnt on the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) was that there are lots of acronyms [laughs]. At a later stage I contributed along with colleagues to the MSC Chain of Custody Standard, including DNA testing. I also worked on the question of how to certify fisheries in Africa, where there are many artisanal fisheries. During my tenure I’ve had many proud moments. However, the highlights for me will be when we concluded the MSC Chain of Custody Standard review and when the MSC and the African Union InterAfrican Bureau of Animal Resources decided to work together.
Fanny Vessaz is an MSc graduate of marine biodiversity and conservation from the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil. She was a recipient of one of our MSC scholarship program grants in 2014. Her research involved assessing bycatch reduction devices in the southern Brazilian artisanal seabob shrimp trawl fishery. Here she reports on the importance of collaboration and why bycatch is a complex topic where fishing communities’ voices need to be heard.
Brazil is a highly diverse country, and its fisheries are similarly varied. Even among small-scale shrimp fisheries, the methods used can differ drastically, but regulations covering them don’t. Over the course of this year, I have been exploring the dynamics of a small-scale shrimp trawl fishery in southern Brazil and examining the issue of bycatch (the unintentional catching of marine animals that are not a fishery’s target species).
While preparing for the Responsible Business Forum in Philippines, I began reading up on the rich history of Filipino culture. What particularly caught my attention, were the mythical stories about the “Serinas” and “Siyokoy.” These characters are the equivalent of mermaids and mermen in Filipino culture and are known as the “bantay tubig” or Guardians of Water.
As I read about these guardians, I started to reflect about how our work at the MSC relates to these mythical figures. We set the standards for sustainable fishing and educate people through our programs about responsible seafood choices and the importance of good fishing practices. We do all of this so that we can see the oceans teeming with life and our seafood supplies safeguarded.
Did you know the MSC has a dedicated developing world program? Recently the program came to the forefront of the organisation’s work with the production of its film Our Fisheries, our Future. The film follows three developing world fisheries as they discuss the importance of sustainability and how the MSC program is helping them improve the management of their resource, access to markets and enhance their economic welfare. The fisheries features lessons learned from a range of stakeholders involved with the fisheries, where they talk about the benefits and challenges of sustainability and MSC certification.
We asked engagement manager, Cassie Leisk about the making of the film.