MSC awards more than £200,000 for research projects in small scale and developing world fisheries

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By Milthon Lujan

UK.- The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has awarded funding of more than £200,000 to five projects that will aid small scale and developing world fisheries in achieving sustainability. The award is part of the MSC’s Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund that was established in 2015 in recognition of the difficulty that these fisheries have in reaching the MSC Standard.


A total of 43 applications were received this year, out of which five were chosen. These cover a diverse range of areas such as crayfish fishing in China, octopus fisheries in Senegal, stone crab fishing in Chile, baitfish fisheries in Indonesia, and baitfish and tuna fisheries in India.

The organisations awarded the funding are the China Aquatic Product Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA); ECOS Research Center and the Ancud Crab Productivity Committee; Cefas, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science; WWF-India, and the Network on Fisheries Policies in West Africa (REPAO).

Announcing the award, the MSC’s Science & Standards Director, David Agnew said: “I am once again very impressed with the calibre of proposals that we received this year and pleased to see that the volume is increasing. Projects like these, that address the gaps faced by small scale and developing world fisheries, are critically important to the sustainability of the industry worldwide. We are already seeing progress from the projects we funded last year and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this year’s awardees.”

About the projects


CAPPMA – China
China produces two thirds of crayfish globally. China Aquatic Product Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA) and partners including IKEA will be working with crayfish fisheries in the Jiangsu and Hubei provinces and the Yangtze River ecosystem on a pilot project to engage small scale fisheries with the MSC program and bring sustainable crayfish to a global market.

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He Cui, President of CAPPMA said: “CAPPMA, as the national fishery association of China, will work with local stakeholders to promote the crayfish industry towards sustainable development, to improve fishing practices of the typical small-scale, crayfish fishery in China, and to demonstrate the harmonisation of livelihood, ecological and social effects for small scale fisheries, with support from this award IKEA and the MSC China office.”

ECOS Research Center and the Ancud Crab Productivity Committee – Chile
Chile has a large and diverse artisanal fishing sector, operating on approximately 141 species. ECOS Research Center and the Ancud Crab Productivity Committee have been awarded GFSF funding for the second time and will design and implement a sustainability improvement action plan for the stone crab artisanal fishery in Los Lagos, Chile. This pilot project will provide a framework for other Chilean artisanal fisheries to work towards sustainability and MSC certification.

Miguel Espíndola from the ECOS Research Centre said: “We hope that, with the development of this project, we will be able to create a network of support to work systematically in the improvement of the fishery, so that it can be recognised worldwide as sustainable. Moreover, we hope that these efforts will improve the commercial choices of the artisanal fishermen involved.”


Cefas – Indonesia
Indonesia is the world’s largest tuna fishing nation. Cefas, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, will be working with partners including the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) to build fisheries science capacity and carry out stock assessments on Indonesia’s small pelagic fisheries, which provide baitfish for the region’s pole-and-line tuna fisheries.

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Piera Carpi, Cefas said: “Sustainability, awareness and knowledge transfer will be the key goals of this project: a unique opportunity to help the local fisheries to enhance the quality of their product, to ensure sustainable exploitation of their small pelagic stocks and to help the scientific community to develop a long term program for the management of their marine resources.”

WWF – India
Although India’s seafood exports are at a record high, there is only one MSC certified fishery in the region. WWF-India will create fishery management and actions plans to ensure the sustainability of both baitfish and tuna fisheries in Lakshadweep, India, a region which depends on fishing for income and as a food source.

Vinod Malayilethu, WWF-India said: ““Pole and Line Skipjack tuna fishing is one of the few sustainable fishing practices in the North Western India Ocean and is a major source of livelihood for fishers in the Lakshadweep islands. I am very excited to receive the funds from the MSC as it will greatly help in addressing the gaps identified during the MSC pre-assessment process and help the fishery to become MSC certified in the future.”


REPAO – Senegal
Senegal has spent many years improving the sustainability and management of its octopus fisheries. The Network on Fisheries Policies in West Africa (REPAO), in partnership with the Directorate of Marine Fisheries, will build upon the sustainable management achievements of the artisanal and industrial octopus fisheries in Senegal, to carry out pre-assessments and develop actions plans towards MSC certification.

Papa Gora from REPAO said: “We felt joy and excitement when the MSC notified us of the choice of our proposal to benefit from this GFSF grant. It is now exactly ten years since we started work towards the certification of artisanal fisheries products! This is an important challenge as we perceive that non-sustainable fishery products will have a very limited market share in the years to come. Certification without artisanal fisheries products would threaten market access for fishery products originating from developing countries, notably Senegal. Obtaining this funding for the octopus fishery in Senegal is a great opportunity for us to make possible the eligibility of this product for MSC certification.”

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