10 projects get UN funding to pursue seafood sustainability projects

Fishers in the South Pacific

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has funded a second cohort of 10 ocean innovators with the hop of bringing economic benefits to small-island developing states and least-developed countries.

UNDP’s Ocean Innovation Challenge is part of UNDP’s Ocean Promise to deliver at least 100 ocean innovations by 2030. OIC provides up to USD 250,000 (EUR 250,000) over two years to develop innovative solutions that are transformational, scalable, and replicable. Projects are chosen based on their potential tap into new technologies and approaches to end overfishing and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, contributing to the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goal 14.

  • Surrey Space Centre is using automated space-based maritime surveillance to detect “dark” ships involved in IUU fishing.
  • WWF Peru will scale up the use of “TrazApp” a traceability system, to improve illegal fishing detection andtransparent fisheries management.
  • ODI is focused on distant-water fishing, which is often connected to IUU and has been documented to exhaust fish stocks, particularly in the waters of low-income countries. ODI will visualize, define, and investigate the scale, form, and behavior of international and national DWF fleets within the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of developing nations.
  • SafetyNet Technologies will test effectiveness of bycatch reduction technologies in an Ecuadorian nearshore gillnet fishery.
  • The MarViVa Foundation is partnering with multiple Costa Rican groups to consolidate innovative best practices in longline pelagic fisheries to reduce bycatch and capture of vulnerable species in Pacific EEZs.
  • SmartFish Recate de Valor AC’s value rescue model links small-scale cooperatives that adopt or maintain sustainable fishing practices to better-paying markets that value premium quality seafood.
  • The international Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) Maldives is developing an exclusive digital market platform for women of the Maldives to let them account for their own production and sales data, receive payments directly with no middleman, and conduct final transactions online to build credit histories and access financial tools.
  • The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership is fostering universal fishery identifiers as an integral part of fisheries and seafood business operations. The outcome will be a public database of fishery IDs to improve fisheries management through a more transparent flow of information.
  • Yayasan IPNLF Indonesia aims to address issues in Indonesia of harvest loss due to inefficient supply chains, lack of infrastructure, and other inadequate systems. The innovation will deploy off-the-grid, solar-powered ice-making machines in remote fishing communities.
  • The University of Exeter will develop a novel genetic tool to contribute to the critical sustainable management of wild stocks and stock enhancement programs. As well as work directly with fishers to transfer the attest global grow-out aquaculture technology and co-design small-scale grow-out operations for Caribbean spiny lobster.

According to a report produced at the 2022 U.N. Ocean Conference, there are around 60 million people employed part- or full -time in small-scale fisheries, with around 21 percent being women. Around 600 million livelihoods rely on fisheries and aquaculture, showing "a significant need for innovations to improve fisheries management and enforcements of strict compliance to sustainability."

In recognition of the significant role of small-scale fisheries, fish farmers, and the seafood sector, 2022 was declared by the United National General Assembly, the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“Small-scale fishers don’t have the latest technology, much-needed finance, and access to international markets. UNDP aims to address this gap by identifying innovative approaches to ocean restoration and protection – helping to boost livelihoods and advance the blue economy,” U.N. Assistant Secretary General Haoliang Xu, the director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Program Support, said in a statement.

Photo courtesy of stbar1964/Shutterstock 


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