Growing retail demand for sustainable seafood from North America and Europe is creating economic opportunities for environment-friendly businesses closer to the fish and the men and women who catch and process them.
In the South Pacific and Southeast Asia, among the world’s richest fishing grounds, a new school of seafood companies is working to keep more of those riches in local communities. Investors will get a look at a half-dozen companies from the regions at next week’s finals of the Fish 2.0 business competition.
In Vanuatu, for example, ALFA Fishing, has grown into a major seafood brokerage, employing more than 3,000 people, mostly women. The Fiji Crab Co. is creating economic incentives to preserve the vital mangrove forests by actively cultivating mud crabs, providing high-value seafood to the local market and generating village-based jobs, primarily for women. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, fishing earns Pacific Island economies more than $2 billion per year. [Tweet This]
“These small and medium-sized companies are already operating in an environmentally friendly way,” says David Gainer, the U.S. State Department’s acting director at the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. “They are looking to expand their businesses to meet demand for sustainable seafood and creating economic opportunities for women and minorities.”
The devastation of Super Cyclone Pam and scandal around seafood slavery pushed social and environmental conditions in the region’s fishing industry to center stage this year. Fish 2.0 made a focused effort to reach the Pacific Island and Southeast Asian companies and bring them together with potential investors. In addition to the U.S. State Department, also involved were the, International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA), the Packard Foundation and Humanity United (see “Fish 2.0 is Searching the Seven Seas for Seafood Entrepreneurs”).
“We strongly believe there are creative seafood entrepreneurs all over the world who could contribute to a more sustainable seafood industry globally, [Tweet This]” says Monica Jain, Fish 2.0’s founder and executive director. “Many need connections to advisors, partners and investors in the international community to achieve their potential.”