Worldwide, small scale fisheries employ 36 million fishermen, thereby directly affecting the livelihoods of about 357 million people. In contrast, industrial fisheries offer employment to 4 million fishermen, only affecting the livelihood of an estimated 16 million people. Despite their disproportionate social-economic impact, small scale fisheries are largely left out of the process of fishery improvement and seafood certification. They contribute to 45% of global fish landings, but less than 1% have been subject to initiatives of fishery improvement and independent certification. In contrast, the share of certified fisheries in the industrial sector is currently 14% and growing every year.
BSI, a subsidiary company of US based North Atlantic Seafood (NAI), focusses on sustainably sourced and socially responsible seafood. The company is developing a sustainable fishery with local fishing communities in Sumbawa together with key stakeholders. BSI sources, processes and exports sustainable sourced wild-caught fish from small scale fisheries in Indonesia. The company also sells some products to domestic and Asian markets.
In 2018 BSI opened a new fish processing plant in Santong, Sumbawa, an island surrounding Saleh Bay, which will be one source of fish for the plant. The plant supplies ice to artisanal fishing vessels and sources directly from the fishermen. The main advantage of the new plant is the ability to provide a completely transparent production process from sourcing to processing. This is crucial in the (sustainable) seafood market, and is the company’s main competitive advantage. This first plant in Sumbawa will serve as a model plant for further scaling-up in other regions in Indonesia and will be 100% fully integrated, transparent and traceable.
A fishing community center is built to train fishermen on improving their sustainable fishing techniques. The number of middlemen are reduced and BSI pays a premium for mature, healthy fish that have been kept on ice and cared for appropriately. BSI provides ice for on-board cold storage and GPS trackers for full traceability. Sourcing and processing locally has tremendous positive impact on the value of the fish as the logistics are reduced and the cold chain improved. The premium for mature fish supports reduced over-fishing of the valuable resource.
C4D believes that small scale fisheries are part of the solutions to our oceans, fish stock and fish consumption. Perhaps this effort is just as important as increasing the sustainability of large scale fishing and aqua culture. Small scale fisheries are right in the heart of the impact C4D is striving for because of the potential to contribute to an economically sustainable fishery in combination with a positive impact on livelihoods. Fishermen are amongst the poorest of the poor and even worse off than most small-holder farmers. Through our capex facility we financed BSI’s new fish processing plant, thereby contributing to job creation, poverty alleviation as well as conservation of our oceans.