April 23, 2014, La Gi, Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam A workshop on Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fishery pre-assessment was held here yesterday for stakeholders in the La Gi mixed bottomfish fishery. Hosted by the Binh Thuan Province Sub Department of Capture Fisheries and Resource Protection (Sub DECAFIREP) and Sea Delight LLC, via the Sea Delight Ocean Fund,, the workshop was attended by over 30 stakeholders including fishers, vessels owners, fish brokers, seafood processors and local government officials. The workshop was covered by the Binh Thuan province television news station as well. Mr. Huynh Quang Huy Binh Thuan, Sub DECAFIREP Director addresses stakeholders The workshop featured a keynote presentation by Mr. Keith Symington of WWF Coral Triangle Program (WWF CTP) titled “Overview of Fishery Improvement Projects”. With the assistance of professional Vietnamese translators, Mr. Symington reviewed the current state of Vietnam’s fisheries in general and the basic principles of the MSC assessment process for certification of sustainable fisheries.
Keith Symington of WWF CTP begins the presentation
Graphic showing the amount of vessel horsepower deployed vs. catch volume in Vietnam The presentation showed how most fisheries in Asia were not ready to meet the full MSC sustainability standard and needed significant improvement in areas such as environmental impact and management. Mr. Symington explained how fisheries that were not yet able to reach full sustainability certification could move towards sustainability through a well-planned Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) pegged to MSC performance indicators. He also explained that many major retail chain buyers in the US and Europe would support such projects by having a policy of buying only certified sustainable or credible FIP-sourced seafood. He also explained other benefits for stakeholders involved in a FIP, including improved economic viability of the fishery and a secure market share for products from the fishery. Benefits of a FIP fishery (from Mr. Symington’s presentation): – Long-term fishery sustainability = economic sustainability in the future – Income security, job security, food security for local communities – Business Case: – Well managed fisheries usually help improve quality and value – More sound investment of money and time The presentation was met by an enthusiastic response from the stakeholders and included a lively Q&A session. Local seafood processors expressed confidence that prices to fishermen could increase with a FIP as long as fish quality was maintained. Mr. Symington’s presentation was followed by a strong statement of support for the MSC process by the Vice Director of the People’s Committee, Mr. Nguyen Van Thuan, who urged all stakeholders to support the proposed fishery pre assessment being planned by Sea Delight and WWF CTP.
Vice Director Nguyen Van Thuan speaks in support of the FIP process and MSC
The next step for the process is to plan the actual MSC pre-assessment with as much data and fishery information as possible being made available to the pre assessment consultant by Binh Thuan Sub DECAFIREP and the fishing community. – Analyze logbook data for catch, effort and fishing ground information – Arrange meetings with fishers to gain overall history of fishery, fishing grounds and impacts – Provide both above to the pre- assessment consultant – Plan the pre-assessment to maximize needed input from Binh Thuan DECAFIREP and the fishing community Next steps for the La Gi fishery (from Mr. Symington’s presentation): – Analyze logbook data for catch, effort and fishing ground information – Arrange meetings with fishers to gain overall history of fishery, fishing grounds and impacts – Provide both above to the pre- assessment consultant – Plan the pre-assessment to maximize needed input from Binh Thuan DECAFIREP and the fishing community Sea Delight will also suggest that the pre assessment and resulting work plan development could serve as an opportunity for WWF experts and the pre assessment consultant to participate in a “train the trainers” capacity building program. This proposed program would focus on training qualified Vietnamese fishery experts on the MSC pre-assessment and FIP implementation process. ENDSRF140423SD