A pioneering blue economy impact investment model
The Sustainable Seafood Fund concept is a pioneering impact investment model with the overarching objective of supporting the transition to a sustainable blue economy by promoting sustainable marine ecosystems and fisheries management by aligning environmental, social and financial incentives.
Investing in fisheries improvements is a proven way to secure the long term sustainability of wild capture fisheries. This innovative approach is based on the business case for seafood companies to invest in the long-term viability of their seafood supplies, thus supporting the development of sustainable blue economies, reducing supply chain volatility and risk thereof, while enhancing business value and protecting reputations.
Under the Fund’s proposed model, industry partners would commit to supporting these fisheries through a volume-based fee. Partners would then benefit from the long-term, secure supply of sustainably sourced seafood. The Fund would establish a return-making financing mechanism enabling it to pool private sector capital to finance fishery improvement projects, reduce transaction costs, improve accountability, achieve economies of scale, link fisheries to markets via offtake fee agreements and promote the integration of environmental, social and financial outcomes within fishery improvement projects.
The Fund investment model becomes self-financing over time. © Ocean Outcomes
We believe that this approach will ensure economies of scale, improve accountability, ensure consistent standards and continued market access, optimizing the success of fishery improvement initiatives. It also aims to improve the stability and scale of funding required for sustainable blue economies in wild capture fisheries.
Ocean Outcomes and WWF have been at the forefront of developing innovative and rigorous approaches to increase the social, economic and environmental benefits of fisheries. And we continue to actively engage in addressing the barriers and challenges that fisheries face in today’s world. It is clear the lack of significant, long-term financing for fisheries in transition is one of these barriers. It is simply not possible to increase the pace and scale of change required without a transformation in thinking about how we pay for the costs of change.
Proposed draft key socio-economic and environmental impact metrics
The Fund will track and work towards impact across the following indicators. These indicators are strategically mapped to overlap with indicators from the Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations.
- Increase in number of fishers engaged in more sustainable fisheries
- Increase in number of female fishers engaged in more sustainable fisheries
- Increase in proportion of females in management-level positions
- Fisher profit remains stable or increases
- Increased number of assessed stocks
- Decrease in number of stocks overfished or showing a negative health trend
- Increase in the amount of stocks managed more sustainably (over life of SSF)
- Decrease negative impacts on other species caught
- Decrease in negative impacts on habitat
- Proportion of fishers in portfolio certified or reaching certifiable standard by major environmental or social standard
Key environmental metrics are those that indicate whether fisheries in the Fund are moving towards improved stock health and management, and decreased impacts on other species and the ecosystem. Key socio-economic measures are those that will indicate whether the people involved with the fishery are treated more ethically and equitably than when the project began.
Stories from the Field: Sustainable Seafood Fund
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