APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Darden will help develop and launch three fishery improvement projects (FIPs) over the next three years through the creation of an alliance of companies, NGOs and other groups to support the development and launch of the fisheries. A fishery improvement project (FIP) is an alliance of buyers, suppliers and producers that work together to improve a fishery by identifying and promoting better policies and management, voluntarily changing purchasing and fishing practices and addressing IUU, bycatch and habitat impacts. These FIPS should not only help combat IUU fishing and rebuild depleted fisheries, but also act as a model for others in the global seafood industry that could and should be engaged in improving problem fisheries from which they source. By working with other leading organizations such as Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and Publix SuperMarkets, the goal will not only be to identify and launch several FIPs over the course of the next several years but also to encourage others to join the FIPs efforts and add additional partners who may develop additional improvement projects in fisheries throughout the world. Each fishery improvement project brings its own set of issues and opportunities with some focused on increasing regulatory enforcement, while others may involve education of fishermen in habitat protection or introduction of new fishing gear and technology that reduces environmental impacts or reduces bycatch of non-targeted species.
The initial FIP, focused on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico commercial reef fisheries (snapper and grouper), will begin in the fall of 2011 and include Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, Publix Super Markets, and Darden. The snapper and grouper fisheries account for approximately 1,700 fishing jobs with a catch value of $39 million and an economic contribution to coastal communities of $75 million and total employment of approximately 3,900. According a recent Pew Environment Group Study rebuilding of these fisheries could add $12M in landed value and $23 million to the local economy and upwards of 600 additional jobs (including fishing vessel support, shore-based fish processing and transportation).
The initial FIP will support the rebuilding of commercial reef fish fisheries, primarily grouper and red snapper, using several tools, including the development of better data collection methods (to provide more accurate information on which to base management decisions and regulations), testing different gear types to reduce interactions with sea turtles, and building new markets for the fish as populations recover. While there are science-based catch limits in place in the region, the there is a lack of information on fish that are caught and thrown back dead, which impacts the overall health of the stock and should be considered in management of the fishery. The FIP will provide a market incentive to encourage fishermen to support improved data collection and management, and better gear to reduce bycatch of other fish and marine wildlife, resulting in a more sustainable fishery.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Year One - The initial FIP will focus on supporting the rebuilding of commercial reef fish fisheries, primarily grouper and red snapper, using several tools including developing improved data collection methods to enhance management, testing different gear types to reduce interactions with sea turtles, and building new markets for the fish as populations recover. . This pilot project will begin in late 2011.
The primary deliverables from this initial phase of the FIP will be:
1) Outfitting a pilot group of commercial fishing vessels with environmental monitoring systems (EMS)
2) Full analysis and report of their effectiveness as a fishery management tool
3) Work plan for addressing the fishery's interaction with sea turtles, including testing and training using different gear types
4) Education and outreach to major seafood buyers to support these improvement efforts through market incentives. 5) Identify the second fishery improvement project and work plan for late 2012 early 2013 launch.
6) Develop coalition parameters and add at least two additional partners to the overall collaborative and identify additional funding (amount and in-kind value TBD) by end of 2012.
1) Evolve the initial FIP to a broader uptake of EMS and alternative fishing gears by the fishing fleet with engagement and education activities involving various stakeholders (fishers, processors, buyers and government agencies) to address issues identified from the year on data collection and analysis which are impacting snapper and grouper populations in the Gulf of Mexico.
2) Launch Fishery Improvement project #2.
3) Identify the third fishery improvement project and work plan by late 2012 early 2013.
4) Add at least one additional partner to the overall collaborative and raise additional funding (amount and in-kind value TBD) by end of 2013.
1) Develop work plan for initial Gulf FIP to be expanded into Mexican waters where similar problems with snapper and grouper are occurring. This includes identification of regulatory and data gathering needs as well as launching awareness and education activities for Mexican stakeholders.
2) Continue work on second FIP and launch third FIP by late 2013.
With the world population increasing from 7 billion today to 9 billion by 2050, there will be increasing pressure on fisheries to provide sustainable sources of proteins. According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) global demand for fish is already at an all-time high 'underlining its significance in contributing to food security and nutrition as a source of high-quality, affordable animal protein.' Globally, fish provides more than 1.5 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein and another 3.0 billion people rely of fish for at least 15 percent of such protein. In addition, world capture fisheries, both industrialized and artisanal, provide employment for millions of people.
FAO reports almost one-third of global fish stocks are overexploited, depleted or recovering. In recent years, some conservation organizations have been working with the seafood industry to address some of the key issues, which have affected global production including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, bycatch of non-targeted species and wasteful discards, recovery of depleted fishery stocks, protection of endangered species and mitigation of environmental impacts.
According to Pew Research, it is estimated that IUU fishing results in a loss of revenue between $10 and $23 billion (Pew Research) annually and hits some of the poorest countries hardest where dependency on fisheries for food and jobs is the most critical.
Commercial fishing ranges from a single individual with a net or hook and line to massive catcher processor vessels harvesting tons of fish with each haul. FAO estimates that commercial fishing and fish farming account for over 38 million jobs worldwide and provide direct and indirect employment to an estimated 500 million people.