Fishing ambassadors eager to pitch in

Editor’s note: In the first of a two-part story about The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit (ISU) Marine Programme, SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Nicki Holmyard talks to some of the program’s newly appointed ambassadors. Click here to read part one, which ran last week. 

The International Sustainability Unit’s (ISU) Marine Programme recognizes that nearly one-third of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion, and that this figure is rising annually.

However, research carried out recently by the ISU found that practical solutions are available to ameliorate these challenges, if industry, the environmental community, academia and the public can work together. Early this month, Prince Charles appointed 20 “fishing ambassadors” to work with the Marine Programme and help carry out its mission. The 20 ambassadors represent 20 countries or blocs, ranging from the United Kingdom, Iceland and Norway to South Africa, Mozambique and Parties to the Nauru Agreement.

Adriana Guidice Alvca, CEO of Norway’s Austral Group, said she is honored to play a part. “As ambassadors, we have a commitment to promote and spread best practices for the sustainable management of fisheries as a source of food, jobs and wealth for the world, especially in a country like Peru, which holds one of the largest fishery resources in the world,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for the fishmeal and fish oil industries to get our sustainability, traceability and quality efforts noticed.”

Adriana believes that, as representative of an organization recognized as the most eco-efficient fishing company in Peru, she can offer support through her country’s experience in the continuous study and monitoring of its main resource — the Peruvian anchovy. “The biomass of this stock is healthy as a result of joint work by the public and private sectors, and the constant support of our scientific institute IMARPE (El Instituto del Mar del Perú), whose reports have underpinned decisions on preservation measures adopted over the years,” she explained.

Javier Garat Pérez, secretary general of CEPESCA (Confederación Española de Pesca) and president of Europeche, said he was impressed by the positive approach of the Marine Programme.

“ISU has shown to the world in 50 extraordinary examples that with industry involvement and good cooperation between scientists, fishermen, NGOs and governments, sustainable fisheries management is possible,” he said. “We just need the right tools to make it happen everywhere and transitional finance to cover the short-term consequences. I believe this initiative can help to make that happen. We have to face the future as a ‘sunshine’ industry and not as ‘sunset’ industry.”

Dick Jones, director of major buyer engagement for the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), said his organization has been working in the challenging field of fisheries improvement for some time and has provided information and suggestions to the ISU from the beginning.

“The reality is that while we have made significant progress, our agency is a small NGO and there are real, practical limitations to the kind of audiences we can attract and how much of their attention we can grab,” he said. “The fantastic advantage of involving The Prince of Wales and the ISU is that he is incredibly high profile and has amazing convening power. His reputation and status can bring powerful people to the table that NGOs simply can’t connect with, at least not yet.”  

Added Jones, “The focus adopted by the ISU for fisheries improvement projects and the financial levers necessary to deliver change are very closely aligned with our own preoccupations, and there’s bound to be a good deal of mutual support and exchange of ideas in the future.”

Barry Deas, CEO of the UK’s National Federation of Fishermen, concurs with his fellow ambassadors. “This is a positive program with a positive message,” he said. “Much progress has already been made in putting fisheries on a sustainable basis worldwide. Understanding the interlinked economic, social and ecological basis of the most successful initiatives points us in the direction that we should go. The aim now is to build on best practice and the lessons learned from them.”


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