MAURITANIA SMALL PELAGICS FISHERY IMPROVER PROGRAMME (FIP)
At BioMar, we believe we have a responsibility to help better the world. We choose to participate in the MarinTrust Mauritania FIP due to its focus on artisan fishermen, stock management and ensuring a percentage of the catch goes to building resilient Mauritanian communities.
The goal of these projects is to infuse the best science into fisheries management, while improving communication between fisheries stakeholders and fisheries managers. There are several challenges associated with sourcing marine ingredients in West Africa, but we believe that our presence, through the FIP, will lead to positive change that will benefit the region in the long-term.
Significant improvements are already being seen with the publishing of a decree by the Mauritanian Ministry of Fisheries to the National Fisheries Plan. It will no longer be permitted for important keystone West African species vital for food security be used for fishmeal or fish oil production. These are Horse Mackerel, Round Sardinella (Sardinella aurita), Yellow Mullet or Meagre (Agyrosomus regius). It is now the law that 20% of all catch must be destined for regional human consumption supply chains and must be identified and quantities reported to ensure traceability.
Mauritania established a progressive zoning scheme to ensure that artisanal fishermen have year-round access to fishing grounds. Currently the Small Pelagics Fishery is enforcing a closure until the end of July 2021 for industrial vessels to allow fish stocks to recover. Artisanal fishermen, who harvest strictly for human consumption, are still allowed to fish. During the time, FM&FO factories are investing in infrastructure (ice machines, freezing capacity, etc.) to improve their ability to harvest and sell small pelagic species to regional seafood markets. This will aid regional food security, which generally lacks the infrastructure necessary to scale up seafood production.