The ecological case
Healthier marine ecosystems will continue to provide more ecological, social and economic services to society for longer. The Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA) will provide a forum for environmental NGOs and responsible fishing companies to work together to secure the health of the ecosystems which underpin the business purpose of both sectors.
The market case
The recent increase in consumer awareness is leading to a higher demand for sustainable products and information, and it would be accurate to say that the present demand for sustainable, traceable seafood outstrips the supply. The RFA will assist participating fisheries to respond proactively to the growing needs of informed consumers and a more demanding seafood market.
The governance case
The RFA will promote self-governance through dynamic dialogue, capacity development and the promotion of market-based incentives e.g. eco-labeling or certification. It will also allow for the development of joint advocacy with government and other stakeholders on issues that may undermine responsible fishing.
The operational and financial case
The RFA will facilitate the pooling of limited resources, increase efficiency and allow for a more coordinated and strategic response, for e.g. research, to meet conditions of fishery certification bodies such as the Marine Stewardship Council. It will also allow for the sharing of complementary skills and competencies of the organisations belonging to the RFA and provides a highly responsive mechanism for the development and implementation of priority projects.
Vision: Like-minded organisations work together to ensure that healthy marine ecosystems underpin a robust seafood industry in southern Africa.
The RFA is comprised of a small group of like-minded organisations that are willing to contribute resources and time towards the achievement of the following strategic objectives:
- Promote and implement responsible fishing practices through the sharing of information, expertise and the development of competencies
- Influence policy and fishery governance
- Develop skills of fishers and fisheries managers to implement an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) Management
- Promote and implement independent high quality research on the implementation of an EAF
- Effective engagement with market mechanisms (e.g. SASSI, MSC and retailers)
- Positioning responsible fisheries in the public space
Members pledge to advance responsible fishing practices through:
- Participating in the forum and openly share knowledge and experiences
- Developing human capacity and skills on responsible fishing practices
- Participating in research
- Implementing agreed research outcomes
- Complying with permit conditions
- Engaging in dialogue with consumers and seafood buyers on the importance of responsible fishing practices
And acknowledge the importance of:
- The long-term benefit of responsible fishing
- An Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management
- Transparency of operations e.g. using third party observers
- Traceability of products
- Equitable labour practices