Fisheries Improvement Fund

News: FIF launches first FIP in Chile – find out more here

A multistakeholder blue finance solution to deliver global fisheries improvement at scale

The Fisheries Improvement Fund is a new funding solution for Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs).

Combining impact-led finance with an innovative volume-based contribution mechanism for supply chain companies, the Fund ensures FIPs can be fully funded, builds sustainability into supply chains and unlocks finance for fisheries recovery at scale.

© Meridith Kohut / WWF-US

Call for Proposals

Finance Earth is seeking proposals for Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) worldwide that may be interested in seeking funding through the new Fisheries Improvement Fund (FIF).

We are open to opportunities brought forward by any relevant stakeholder(s) including NGOs, local fishing groups, industry actors, off-take/trading companies, buyers/retailers and local/national governments. This fund can support both industrial and artisanal, small-scale fisheries.

Please email fif@finance.earth to find out more and arrange an initial discussion.

We are open to proposals from:

  • New FIPs
  • Existing FIPs that are paused or that have had to scale back activities due to lack of funding

 

We are also keen to discuss potential opportunities to support:

  • Pre-FIP fisheries seeking funding for FIP set up costs
  • FIPs approaching completion and seeking funding for certification and ongoing costs of maintaining sustainability over time
  • Fisheries targeting sustainability improvements outside the scope of MSC

 

The Fund is able to support both ‘Basic’ FIPs, targeting specific sustainability improvements, and ‘Comprehensive’ FIPs targeting a broader package of improvements.

The Fisheries Improvement Fund can offer:

  • Up-front funding to cover initial FIP delivery costs, with flexible repayment over the full term of a FIP
  • Support in engaging with domestic and international supply chain actors to develop a full funding model for the FIP (structured to include repayment of any up-front funding provided)
    • We typically seek to engage companies through an equitable volume-based fee model, but other options are also available
  • A range of support from leading buyers, suppliers, financiers, and philanthropic foundations supporting fishery improvement projects.
  • Assistance in establishing robust FIP management and governance arrangements.

What is a Fishery Improvement Project?

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) are a proven global model for transitioning fisheries towards improved fishing practices and management, benefiting people and nature. FIPs bring together multiple stakeholders in the supply chain to address environmental and social challenges through a coordinated action plan.

There are now over 150 FIPs active worldwide, covering over 11% of global commercial wild catch, as verified by FisheryProgress.org.

© Meridith Kohut / WWF-US

Why is the Fisheries Improvement Fund needed?

Many fisheries around the world face an increasing range of environmental and sustainability challenges. Over a third of global fish stocks are overexploited, and a further 60% are fished at their maximum limit[1]. Yet with ocean goods and services worth around US$2.5 trillion per year[2], the seafood business still holds much promise, now and in the future, if targeted investments are made toward fisheries recovery.

FIPs offer a proven approach for transitioning fisheries towards more sustainable footing, but often face funding challenges. Funding for FIPs is traditionally sourced from piecemeal grants from charitable foundations and companies. Often this does not cover the full cost of a FIP and can limit the pace and scale of the transition towards more sustainable fisheries.

[1] Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations: The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (2020)

[2] UNCTAD: Advancing the Potential of Sustainable Ocean-Based Economies: Trade Trends, Market Drivers And Market Access (2021)

 

The Fisheries Improvement Fund (FIF) provides an innovative and scalable funding model for fisheries improvement, that tackles these issues:

How does the model work?

Piloting the FIF model

Finance Earth is working with key feed ingredient companies Cargill and Skretting to Pilot the FIF in one of the world’s most ecologically essential seascapes.

Large-scale seafood buyers and philanthropic foundations including Mars, Incorporated; Costco Wholesale; Sodexo; and the Walmart Foundation are also supporting the Pilot.

The establishment of a FIP and the Pilot of the Fund will provide the necessary resources to secure the natural capital of the target fishery and move it towards a more sustainable footing, while delivering a replicable and scalable model.

© Meridith Kohut / WWF-US

Fisheries Improvement Fund Supporters

The Fisheries Improvement Fund was launched with assistance from Hogan Lovells.

Fisheries Improvement Fund

Frequently Asked Questions

For NGOs / FIP developers

How are FIPs selected for funding through the FIF?

FIPs will be assessed on a case by case basis, using a set of key criteria to assess their suitability for this funding mechanism. These criteria include:

  • Implementer capacity: FIP implementers should be a well-respected organisation with experience in implementing FIPs
  • Funding gap: Lack of funding should be the key challenge the FIP faces in progressing to launch or in completing its workplan
  • Scale: The FIP must be of sufficient scale (in volume and value of fish landed) to justify setup and management costs (specific thresholds )
  • Progress to date: For existing FIPs, reasonable progress should have been demonstrated to date, notwithstanding any funding constraints
  • Time period: For existing FIPs, there should be at least two years remaining to FIP completion

 

Can the Fund support existing FIPs, or only new FIPs?

The Fund can support both new and existing FIPs.

Is the Fund only targeting FIPs or is it open to wider fisheries improvement?

The model is currently focused on providing funding for FIPs; however, we are also open to considering other approaches to delivering sustainability improvements. Please contact Finance Earth to discuss.

Can the FIF provide funding for MSC pre-assessments or full?

The primary aim of the FIF is to provide an appropriate funding model for FIPs. However, as the FIF is scaled, we will be exploring how its remit may be expanded to also support MSC pre-assessments and/or development of FIP workplans. We would be open to exploring partnership opportunities with organisations that are also looking to support these activities.

What options are available for fisheries where there isn’t a clear market / rationale for MSC-certified produce?

We are open to exploring how this model can support fisheries improvement where MSC certification may not be possible for smaller fisheries. This may include consideration of alternative certification standards or mapping of a medium/long-term process towards MSC certification.

How will you ensure that local communities benefit/small scale fishers’ livelihoods improve through the Fund’s activities?

Local fishing communities are an integral stakeholder within FIPs, and therefore the strength of community buy-in and involvement will be an important consideration when Finance Earth is reviewing new potential FIP opportunities to support through the Fund. Where appropriate, Finance Earth may seek to support FIP developers in incorporating community benefit arrangements within FIP workplans.

Can funding through the FIF be combined with funding from other sources – e.g. foundations, governments?

Yes. The FIF funding model can incorporate, or work alongside, funding from a range of different contributors, and a key aim is to ensure from the outset of a FIP that there is sufficient funding committed in total, from all sources, to cover the full cost of delivering the FIP. Finance Earth will seek to ensure this by, for example, setting the volume-based fee at an appropriate level based on number and scale of participating companies. This is a significant shift from the ways most FIPs are funded currently, which often rely on piecemeal, ad hoc and uncertain funding.

What role does the FIF / Finance Earth play once a FIP is up and running?

Finance Earth, as manager of the FIF, would arrange a schedule of meetings with the FIP implementer (typically quarterly) to discuss progress and any issues that may be arising  in FIP delivery. Finance Earth, supported by the FIF’s Expert Steering Group, would work to support FIP implementers to resolve any emerging issues.

 

For Companies

What type of companies could act as ‘off-takers’ and ‘other supply chain actors’ in the model?

There is flexibility in the model to include a range of companies from local fishing companies to mid supply chain traders to retailers/restaurants. The volume based fee associated with offtakers requires sourcing data in order to calculate volumes effectively. Contributions from supply chain actors can include a volume based fee, annual contributions, and in-kind contributions with the type of contribution determined based on the specific role and circumstances of each company. Contact Finance Earth (fif@finance.earth) to learn more.

How should our company engage with the model if we don’t have sufficient granularity in sourcing data to make volume-based contributions?

There are a variety of options for engaging with the FIF. Please see above and contact Finance Earth for further information.

Is there a minimum contribution from participating companies?

Companies participating through a volume-based fee mechanism will be asked to commit to a minimum annual contribution based on an agreed proportion of their typical sourcing volumes.

For companies participating through other means, the minimum contribution will be based on an assessment of the company and its role in the supply chain/fishery.

Can companies choose which FIPs to participate in?

Yes, companies can specify which FIPs they want to support. We are also open to partnering with companies and other stakeholders to develop new FIPs in fisheries that are a priority for companies.

What level would the volume-based fee be set at? Would it be the same for every FIP?

The fee will be calculated separately for each , based on the type of fishery/product, cost of delivering the FIP, the number and typical sourcing volumes of participating supply chain actors, and the amount of funding (if any) available from other sources to support the FIP. Typically we would expect the volume-based fee to be less than c.2% of product cost, and in some cases as low as 0.1-0.2%.

 

General

How will you be measuring and tracking progress towards the $100 million target?

The $100 million target is related to the amount of financing the Fund is aiming to mobilise. For direct funding, Finance Earth will be tracking the number and scale of FIPs supported through this mechanism, including the amount of funding that is expected to be provided by companies through volume-based fee agreements and other commitments. Finance Earth will also aim to track the amount of finance mobilised as a result of this model, for example from government, financial institutions and others.

What support can Finance Earth provide in developing and launching a FIP through this funding mechanism?

Finance Earth will be able to support FIP developers/proponents (e.g. NGOs, supply chain companies or other stakeholders) to develop a funding model for their FIP. Finance Earth will also be able to work with partners to engage companies to seek volume-based fee commitments, in order to unlock up-front funding from the FIF.

Is the FIF a for-profit company?

No. The FIF is incorporated in the UK as a non-profit company limited by guarantee. Any profits that the FIF makes will be reinvested into further FIP opportunities. The FIF is managed by Finance Earth, which is an employee-owned mission-locked social enterprise, with 51% of profits reinvested into on-mission activities related to nature conservation and sustainability.

What role does WWF play in the FIF?

WWF is a technical advisor to the Fund, ensuring that FIPs being supported by the FIF are of a high quality and are achieving intended impacts. There is no requirement for FIPs supported by the FIF to have any involvement with, or link to, WWF. Previously, WWF played a central role in developing the concept for a Fisheries Improvement Fund.

Please email fif@finance.earth to find out more and arrange an initial discussion.

 

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