October 24, 2016
Nha Trang, Vietnam
A meeting to review the status of the Vietnam Yellowfin Tuna Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) was convened here for members of the FIP Industry Advisory Group. The meeting was attended by local tuna processors, international FIP Partners including Sea Delight, other importers, distributors and representatives of national and provincial fisheries departments, . The meeting was hosted by WWF Vietnam, WWF Coral Triangle and Vina Tuna.
1. FIP Progress Review
The meeting got underway with a presentation on the current progress of the FIP against the Work Plan projections. It was noted that the FIP had not made as much overall progress as projected when the Work Plan, and with particular attention to MSC Principle 1 (stock condition), where there remain gaps between stock management in Vietnam and the measures set out by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
Presentations were then made by FIP Industry members on progress made on Work Plan tasks. It was reported that onboard logbook awareness training, observer training and preparation for onboard observer trials, including circle hook trials were ongoing. It was noted that these contributions were important in achieving measured progress on Principle 2 (ecosystems).
Sea Delight Representative Stephen Fisher gave a short presentation on community outreach work with supplier Thinh Hung Co. Limited on improving tuna quality and value returned to local fishing communities. Sea Delight also took the opportunity to announce the completion of an MOU with industry advocate group The Vietnam Tuna Association (VINATUNA) to support Sea Delight on the ongoing FIP work.
2. Report on Proposed Traceability System
The second segment of the meeting was opened with a presentation on the ongoing work of developing a workable traceability system for FIP tuna products. The key to the proposed system is a “Unique Trace Code” (UTC) to enable to trace and track FIP tuna at any step of production or distribution back to the harvest vessel.
Much work has already been done on this and prototype code has been developed and is undergoing testing. Sea Delight is supporting these efforts.
Discussion on traceability UTC
3. Review of Financing Models
The meeting was concluded with the presentation of proposed sustainable financing models for the ongoing FIP work. The current financing model is a traditional mix of fees paid by industry FIP members and financial support through NGOs (WWF) and supporting foundations. The problem with this approach is it is not predictable or sustainable from year to year and has resulted in shortfalls of the total budget requirement.
Two new financing models were proposed to the meeting both based on versions of the “penny per pound” system. This means that the FIP costs are passed on to the buyers in the form of a small price premium for FIP fish.
Detailed proposals on financing models will be provided to FIP industry partners for discussion in the near future. Sea Delight will be sure to report on the model adopted by the FIP.