In western markets, demand for sustainable seafood is increasing, yet ‘sustainability’ is often very narrowly framed. In Europe, retailers and the food service industry strongly rely on certification schemes (eco-labels) as an indicator of sustainability. However, access to fishery certification is limited due to costs and high administrative burdens that are primarily met by industrial fleets from developed countries. Consequently, small-scale fisheries become marginalised, directly through market exclusion, and indirectly because of the intensification of fishing practices that many nations follow to meet market demand.
Community Catch seeks to counteract the negative socio-economic and environmental consequences of excluding small-scale fisheries from developed country markets. Sustainable Development Goal 14b calls for small-scale fisheries to gain access to resources and markets by 2030. Our goal is to create a cost-effective business model that provides evaluation against a social and environmental certification standard tailored specifically to small-scale fisheries, with access through a multitude of tools from self-assessment to independent third-party certification.
The Community Catch initiative will:
- Co-develop tools and mechanisms with stakeholders, that provide market access for small-scale fishery products and secures small-scale communities’ access to fisheries resources.
- Develop a fishery certification standard tailored to small-scale fisheries in participation with key actors.
- Collaborate with key organisations and platforms that provide market access (ratings, market platforms).
- Develop innovative tools to facilitate access for small-scale fishers.
- Facilitate improvement programmes for small-scale fisheries together with expert organisations in the field.
Community Catch is actively engaged with leading organisations and representatives at different levels within seafood and fish value chains to explore market opportunities for small-scale fishery products.