Quality losses in small-scale fisheries in Indonesia and Madagascar

We were hired by Blue Ventures, an award winning marine conservation NGO to evaluate post-harvest quality losses in five small-scale fisheries in the Indo-Pacific area: the reef octopus, mud crab and tuna fisheries in Indonesia, and the reef octopus and squid fisheries in Madagascar. The final aim of this project was to identify interventions able to curb quality losses at the first stages of the supply chain, thus ultimately improving the livelihoods of local fishing communities.

Firstly, we undertook an in-depth desktop-based review of these fisheries, identifying species and volumes landed, fishing methods, main fishing areas, key stakeholders, etc. A value chain analysis (VCA) was later performed for each fishery to identify post-harvest quality losses at each step of the supply chain: at the moment of the catch, onboard the fishing vessels, at the landing site, during transport and at the processing plant.

Based on the study findings, a series of potential interventions were recommended to improve efficiency and limit the quality losses in the supply chain of these fisheries, while also taking into account the social and ecological implications. Finally, a matrix of interventions was created, rating them from low cost or easy implementation, to high cost or difficult to implement; and estimating the potential impact of their implementation on the livelihood of the fishers, in order to prioritize the lower cost-higher impact activities. The suggested interventions ranged from basic activities, such as providing training in best handling practices; to considerable investments at the local infrastructure level, such as the creation of a series of mid-point storage facilities.

MSC pre-assessments of bluefin tuna fisheries in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea

The Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is one of the open ocean’s fastest, strongest predators and the largest of the tuna species, reaching weights of up to 900 kg and lengths of nearly 4 m. Bluefin tuna is a highly prized fish, very demanded by the sushi and sashimi market in Japan and other countries. The species is targeted by several small- and large-scale fisheries throughout its range but most of the catches are taken from the Mediterranean Sea where the species migrates every year for spawning. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is the organization responsible for the management and conservation of bluefin tuna (and other tuna and tuna-like species) in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. Due to the heavy exploitation, bluefin tuna was considered overfished and in 2006 the ICCAT adopted a 15-year recovery plan for the species in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean, which included a series of management measures to recover the species to healthy levels. Although the species is still considered near threatened (NT) by the IUCN, the Eastern bluefin tuna stock has improved in recent years and the Total allowance Catch (TAC) has increased by 60% since 2014.

In 2018, we were hired by two different Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs), accredited to carry out Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries certification assessments to pre-evaluate two bluefin tuna pole and line fisheries in the East Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Our first task was to undertook an in-depth desktop-based literature research and contact relevant stakeholders to collect all the available information about these fisheries, identifying volumes landed, fishing methods used, fishing areas, impacts on bycatch species, management measures implemented, etc. Later, we travelled to Spain to meet these stakeholders to collect and clarify some of missing/unclear information. Then we assessed the fishery, scoring each of the scoring issues under the three principles of the MSC standards: P1, target stock; P2, impact on bycatch species, habitats and ecosystem; and P3, management. The results of these pre-assessments are confidential but we found, that although the stock of bluefin tuna has improved in recent years, a series of management issues need to be addressed before these fisheries are ready for a full MSC assessment.

Evaluating sustainable sources of common octopus for a Spanish importer

© Jose Peiro

We were appointed by one of the main Spanish octopus importers to search for alternative sources of prime-quality and sustainable octopus, in order to reduce its strong dependency on traditional exporting countries such as Morocco and Mauritania.

Firstly, we undertook an in-depth desktop-based review of global octopus fisheries, identifying the species and landed volumes. For each fishery identified we also collected information on the fishing methods employed, the existing management measures and the state of the resources.

Based on this scoping, we provided our clients with a final list of the most interesting alternative sources of sustainable octopus, so that they could position themselves in strategic niche markets with an increasing demand for this product.

Study about co-managed fisheries in North-western Africa countries

Naunet was commissioned by a globally known NGO, to carry out a study about comanaged fisheries in four North-western African countries: Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. The main goal of this project was to analyse how seafood buyers’ choices in Europe might impact the livelihoods of fisheries-dependent coastal communities in developing countries.

© Jose Peiro

Firstly, Naunet undertook a desktop mapping of all the fisheries engaged in co-management initiatives within the area, collecting information on species, volumes, type of co-management implemented, stakeholder involvement and links to the EU market and/or policies.

Two relevant fisheries, both located in Senegal, were finally selected for a full case study. Thereafter, we travelled to Senegal in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each fishery’s comanagement system. Based upon our findings and our interviews with fisheries stakeholders, we drafted a set of recommendations aimed to managers and corporate buyers on how to help promoting these initiatives in these countries.

You can downdoad the report here.

Review of Philippines’ Tuna Fishery Management Plans

© Juan Vilata

Our client developed a program aiming to achieve the sustainability of Philippines’ tuna artisanal fisheries both at the sub-national and national level, including the full compliance of Philippines’ international obligations as a member country to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). An instrumental component in this process was the availability of adequate tuna management plans at the sub-national and national levels.

We were commissioned by our Client to perform a thorough review of the data informing the plans, and of the plans themselves, ensuring their alignment with the requirements of WCFPC’s Conservation and Management Measures. We were also requested to identify gaps in the information collected and to suggest the necessary adjustments, as well as to provide technical guidance during the process of drafting the tuna management plans.

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

© Juan Vilata

Many fisheries around the world are not yet sustainably managed. It means that these fisheries are missing marketing opportunities and higher prices due to the fact that they can’t sell their products to some major seafood buyers or local retailers who are committed to sustainability in their sourcing.

Fishery improvement projects (FIPs) help fisheries to meet national and international sustainable standards by involving multiple stakeholders—such as fishermen, buyers, researchers, managers and NGOs— to improve fishing practices and management. The involvement of multiple stakeholders with different perspectives and backgrounds ensures that the FIP activities are appropriate for the social and economic context of the fishery.

Our consultants at Naunet are specialized in fisheries certification programs. They are able to work initiating and coordinating fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and providing technical support to the stakeholders involved in the FIP. Some of the works carried out by Naunet fisheries consultants include:

    • Development of work plans designed to address deficiencies in the fishery to achieve a level of sustainability consistent with international standards;
    • Designing of systems for tracking and reporting progress against the indicators indicate in the work plan;
    • Engage stakeholders to join forces in FIPs.

For more info about FIPs, please visit:

https://www.sustainablefish.org/fisheries-improvement

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC Certified Sustainable Seafood)

The MSC runs an ambitious program, working with partners to transform the world’s seafood markets and promote sustainable fishing practices. Their vision is for the world’s oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations.

The MSC Fisheries Standard is designed to assess if a fishery is well-managed and sustainable. Their standards were developed through consultation with the fishing industry, scientists, conservation groups, experts and stakeholders. These standards detail the requirements for fisheries to be certified as sustainable and for businesses to trade in certified seafood.

© Juan Vilata

All certified fisheries must meet three core principles:

    • Principle 1. Sustainable fish stocks
    • Principle 2. Minimising environmental impact
    • Principle 3. Effective management

Fisheries and seafood businesses voluntarily seek certification against the relevant standards. These standards meet international best practice guidelines for certification and ecolabelling. Only seafood from an MSC certified fishery can carry the MSC ecolabel.

Consultants from Naunet Fisheries Consultants have been collaborating since 2013 as local experts in some MSC fisheries assessments undertake in Spain and Portugal. We are also work as a peer-reviewers and Principle 2 experts.

More information on the MSC scheme is available at their website: http://www.msc.org/

”Goggles for Africa”

The idea for this project came to us at Christmas 2012 when we went to Africa to visit a friend who was working there in an international development project. As we like diving, we brought our snorkelling equipment with us. One day when we were on the beach snorkelling, a group of kids approached us to know what we were doing. We let them our goggles and their reaction was surprising. Although they came from a nearby fishing community and their income mainly depended on marine resources, it was the first time that they have watched a fish swimming!

© Jose Peiro

We think that “Protection begins with knowledge”, i.e. the more you know about your resources, the more you to protect them. That’s why we have developed a workshop about marine life (including fish, turtles and other species) and sustainable fishing for kids between 5 and 12 years belonging to small fishing communities. This workshop include practical activities where kids will learn to float (or more importantly, get comfortable into the water) and to use googles to watch how fish live and swim.

Our first series of workshops will be undertaken in spring 2016 in São Tomé and Príncipe a Portuguese-speaking island nation situated in the Gulf of Guinea. According to the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO) 9000 artisanal fishermen work in the country and about 80% percent of total animal protein intake in São Tomé and Príncipe relies on seafood, one of the highest percentages in the continent. The principal aim of this project is to ensure that seafood supplies and livelihoods are safeguarded for future generations in the country.

If you want to know a bit more about this exciting project, please visit the project’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/gogglesforafrica/

Or download the project’s leaflet

World Wildlife Fund

Sustainable seafood: Consumer guides

WWF, together with the Seafood Choices Alliance, North Sea Foundation and the Marine Conservation Society, developed a methodology to assess the sustainability of seafood species. Based on this, they’ve created guides that tell you which seafood to enjoy and which seafood to avoid.

Naunet fisheries Consultants has been working with WWF assessing seafood species for the WWF sustainable seafood consumer guide since the year 2013 (our latest reports: the lumpfish net fishery in Iceland, the Argentine shortfin squid trawl fishery in the Falkland Islands, the Cape dory trawl fishery in Namibia or the white scallop dredge fishery in Russia).

For more info please visit: http://wwf.panda.org/

Seafood Watch program (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s fished or farmed in ways that protect sea life and habitats, now and for future generations. Their recommendations indicate which seafood items are “Best Choices” (green light) or “Good Alternatives” (amber light) and which ones you should “Avoid” (red light).

They raise public awareness about sustainable seafood issues through their consumer guides, website, mobile apps and outreach efforts. Since 1999, they’ve distributed over 45 million consumer guides and their smartphone app has been downloaded over a million times. They also encourage restaurants, distributors and seafood purveyors to purchase from sustainable sources. They have over 200 partners across North America, including two of the largest food service companies in the U.S.

In 2014 our consultancy conducted a desk-study for the Seafood Watch program about the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) fishery in Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal and Spain. In 2015 we worked in an assessment about the day octopus (Octopus cyanea) fishery in Indonesia and we were also hired to test the new SFW standards. New assessments will come in the next moths. Please find a copy of our published reports in the links below:

Common octopus fishery in Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal and Spain (2014)

Day octopus fishery in Indonesia (2015)

More information on the Seafood Watch scheme is available at their website:

http://www.seafoodwatch.org/about-us