Planet Tracker has proposed an innovative solution to address overfishing, introducing a financial mechanism termed "blue recovery bonds." The London-based nonprofit aims to combat overfishing while aligning with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals for investors.
Outlined in the September report titled "Fishing for a Recovery," the blue recovery bonds concept involves providing upfront capital to a fishery in exchange for a temporary reduction in fishing activities. Once fish stocks recover, the fisheries repay the invested capital along with interest.
François Mosnier, Head of the Oceans Program at Planet Tracker, explained that fishers can invest in the future sustainability of their fisheries without bearing the upfront costs. The goal is to offer a "reset" button for sustainable fishing practices, improving livelihoods and ocean health.
With 35.1 percent of global fisheries already overfished, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and an anticipated surge in seafood demand, Planet Tracker sees the recovery of fish stocks as a global priority for food security.
The nonprofit's Ocean Program seeks to channel financial investments toward the sustainable management of natural resources. Mosnier emphasized the importance of understanding which fisheries would be interested in this initiative and encouraged stakeholders to explore an interactive assessment tool for more information.
While the general framework involves exchanging upfront capital for a temporary reduction in fishing, the logistics would vary based on individual contracts. Success is defined by a recovery in fish populations, with unique restoration plans for each deal outlining specific details on species, locations, and the extent of recovery.
Mosnier emphasized the need for companies engaging in illegal or unregulated fishing to bear the cost of failure. For other reasons, investors would assume the risk, subject to negotiation between parties.
To ensure success and mitigate risks, proactive measures include securing a suitable bond issuer agreement, defining effective success metrics, implementing monitoring technology, enforcing performance, and considering social and economic consequences on supply chains.
Mosnier suggested structuring the bond with interest calculated from the moment capital is deployed or using a flat fee agreed upon in advance based on the level of fish population recovery. The ideal scenario is one where fishing companies benefit more after stocks recover compared to maintaining existing conditions.
The Planet Tracker report identified 65 fisheries, comprising 22 percent of the 295 global fisheries considered, as strong candidates for recovery bonds. Stakeholders are encouraged to engage with the initiative, emphasizing collaboration to achieve sustainable and responsible fishing practices.
Source: Emma Desrochers (Dec 15, 2023). Planet Tracker proposes blue recovery bonds to reduce overfishing. Seafood Source. https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/premium/environment-sustainability/planet-tracker-proposes-blue-recovery-bonds-to-prevent-overfishing?utm_source=marketo&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=newsletter
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