Lima International Mahi Mahi FIP Workshop: Challenges and Opportunities in the International Market
- The key issues discussed at the event included the fight against illegal fishing, mahi mahi traceability, the involvement of actors and global-level success stories on the implementation of Fishery Improvement Projects (FIP).
Mahi Mahi and Its Economic Impact
Mahi mahi fishery is the second most important artisanal fishery in Peru. According to estimates, it also provides employment for over ten thousand fishermen who work in the artisanal boats (amounting to more than two thousand) along the national coastline. We must not forget, of course, that Peruvian mahi mahi landing volumes account for about 50% of the total mahi mahi production worldwide.
“The artisan fishermen’s landing volumes all across the coastline are helping us set trends. Last year 58 thousand tons of this resource were harvested from fishing activities. As Peruvians, we are full of pride for this achievement, which at the same time reflects our duty to guarantee the sustainable use of this resource for the benefit of current and future Peruvians and the world,” said the Senior Manager of WWF Peru's Marine Program, Samuel Amorós. He also stressed the importance of mahi mahi fishery for the international market. "Many of the participants sitting in this room come from different places. Seventy-nine percent of our exports were headed to the North American market, which in economic terms translates to about 94 million dollars. This is not an isolated case, but a trend we have observed throughout the past years”, he concluded.
The Government’s Answer
In this regard the Rear Admiral. (r) Héctor Soldi, Vice-minister of Fishery and Aquiculture of the Ministry of Production, agreed that the mahi mahi fishery has grown dramatically in recent years, becoming a whole new experience for the country, and requires new management. “We are in a new administration. We have been to the fishermen coves to identify the problems and difficulties they are going through in order help them and ensure their sustainability. We want this fishery to generate profits for fishermen, who should be recognized because they are accomplishing a difficult task.”
Soldi also discussed some goals to be met by his current management. “We will formalize the fishing fleet, promote its modernization, including landing sites and fishing operations, coordinate the promotion of a sustainable fishery of mahi mahi with Ecuador with whom we will share this resource and will start a socialization process of the Mahi Mahi Action Plan”, he stated.
The Enterprise and Sustainability
This event brought together major buyers of mahi mahi from the United States. Adam Matkin from the transnational Costco Wholesale was among them and underlined that this company has always shown interest in supporting the sustainability of seafood products. “For our consumers this is quite important, this is what they look for and that is what we’ve got to do. But we, as buyers feel we have not done much. This is not enough. We believe we can accomplish more. That is why it is important to involve all the suppliers of the mahi mahi traceability chain. And we must do it because for us this product is quite important.”
Specialists and FIP implementation
Wendy Goyert, Senior Officer of the Oceans’ Program and Caroline Tippett, Director of Corporate Alliances of Seafood Products, both specialists from WWF, were also present at the event. Wendy Goyert stressed that for a proper implementation of a FIP it is necessary, as a first step, that governments and suppliers are fully committed. “There is a pressing need to implement these projects, and we (as WWF) depend on funding because it is crucial for the process. The FIPs designed by WWF includes every actor, mainly led by the industrial sector and buyers”, he said.
“In the United States we have witnessed a high commitment level by all the agencies. It is an example proving that if we all could work together and show the project support, there will be more positive impact of the project”.
In this regard, Caroline Tippett mentioned the great participation level major companies play in her country as allies of the fishery improvement projects. “Each FIP Project has a list of participants that now appear in the website. We work to build this list of partners-buyers that are actively participating so that the supply chain attracts more stakeholders. All the names of these companies are available in our website for each FIP Project, such as Kroger for example, with whom we have been working since 2009 concerning the fishery sustainability”.
No transparency in traceability, no trust
Patricia León-Melgar, Country Representative of WWF Peru, highlighted the importance mahi mahi fishery has on the support of Peruvian families who depend on this activity. León-Melgar considered that this fishery should be approached in a comprehensive manner involving the health management of oceans, but above all, overseeing the safety and welfare of thousands of families of artisanal fishermen.
“What is the use of a fishery so important worldwide, if this fails to generate benefits to the families depending on this resource. It is pivotal that this comprehensive approach of a fishery management not only cares for the product itself but for the persons extracting it. Although the traceability issue is very complex, it is fundamental because without it there is no transparency, and without transparency there is no trust. In addition, without traceability and the accompanying technology there is no safety for the fishermen themselves or the crew of fishermen who work on this extractive activity,” she concluded.
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over five million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. wwf.org.pe
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