Marine capture fisheries provide significant benefits at a global
and local level. They contribute more than US$270 billion to global
GDP, provide nearly three billion people with at least 20% of their
total animal protein and employ hundreds of millions of people,
the majority of whom are in developing countries. Currently, the
benefits of marine capture fisheries are under threat. The good
news is that proven solutions and tools exist to help fisheries
recover to remove this threat, transition to a healthy and profitable
state and secure benefits into the future. Because the transition
to sustainable fisheries will inevitably require investments, the
question of how the transition will be financed, and by whom,
must be answered.
The investment case for financing the transition to sustainability
is clear. Fisheries generate significantly more value when they
are sustainably managed, while also providing biological and social
benefits. Furthermore, the fundamental economics of the global
seafood market suggest that prices will continue on an upward
trend, as will the demand for sustainable products. Therefore,
investing in sustainable fisheries can be seen as both a necessary
and potentially profitable investment.
To date, the transition to more sustainable, profitable fisheries has
been largely funded by philanthropic and public sources of money.
However, these types of capital alone cannot support the rate and
scale of fisheries reform that is required on a global level. At the
same time, past and current investments in fisheries have, in some
instances, undermined the underlying resilience of natural and
social capital. It is now time to explore a new approach to investing
in the transition, an approach which involves all types of financial
capital – from philanthropic to public to private. Each can play an
important role and through coordination and integration, different
types of capital can work together to finance the transition to selfsustaining
This document provides a framework for developing and financing
fishery transition projects. It is informed by existing work in the
field and is intended as a discussion document to stimulate thought
and progress towards investment in sustainable fisheries.
Environmental Defense Fund, The Prince of Wales’s
International Sustainability Unit and 50in10.