Fisheries Improvement Fund launches first Fishery Improvement Project in Chile

Global fund launches first FIP supported through new supply chain funding mechanism

LONDON –April 23, 2024. Today, Finance Earth and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), alongside leading industry partners, announced the launch of a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in Chile. The FIP is supported through the Fisheries Improvement Fund (FIF), which launched in April last year and has the ambition to catalyse more than $100 million into fisheries improvement by 2030. This first FIF project will focus on supporting the transition to sustainable marine ingredients in one of the world’s most ecologically essential seascapes in Chile – the anchoveta and araucanian herring (common sardine) fishery in the Central-Southern Region of Chile. Piloting the financing mechanism in Chile will help to move one of the world’s most productive and critical fisheries towards a more sustainable footing, while delivering a replicable and scalable model for further investments.

The FIF’s innovative financing model aims to reverse the trend of fisheries decline and scale global fisheries improvements toward nature-positive outcomes for healthier marine ecosystems, thriving fishing communities, and a sustainable blue economy. Finance Earth, a leading impact investment advisor and fund manager with a track record in breakthrough models that finance social and environmental priorities, is managing the Fisheries Improvement Fund, and working closely with WWF to implement this first pilot project.

WWF and Finance Earth worked with industry to conceptualize and design a model that is impactful, scalable across fisheries, and supported by companies working to transition fisheries in their supply chains to more sustainable resources. Feed companies Cargill and Skretting participated in the development of the concept and are cornerstone partners in the FIF. Leading pet food manufacturer, large-scale seafood buyers, and philanthropic foundations including Mars Incorporated, Costco Wholesale, Walmart Foundation, Sodexo and Giant Eagle are also supporting the Fund.

Walton Family Foundation has provided an initial anchor investment into the Fund to support the Chile FIPs while participating companies will create a long-term revenue stream, primarily through a volume-based fee, thereby creating a mechanism for this investment to be repaid and FIP costs to be covered throughout the project. This funding model with participating organizations each using their unique catalytic strengths ensures that these efforts to improve sustainability are more comprehensively funded, recognized as a cost of doing business, and embedded into product costs. The model has potential for replication and scaling in both fisheries and other commodities and sectors.

“At Mars, we are focused on how we can improve both social and environmental impact across our supply chains. Following our $1 million commitment in funding for the Fisheries Improvement Fund, this project represents the first of many to create and scale impact, improving our oceans and the livelihoods for coastal communities,” says Andrew Russell, Global Marine Sustainability Lead, Mars Petcare.

“We are excited to launch the first project in Chile together with Finance Earth and WWF, funded through this innovative supply chain financing model to scale fisheries improvement. This financing model provides the means for all actors across the supply chain to contribute to fisheries improvement, reducing supply chain volatility and mitigating supply chain risk, while enhancing value for the fishing communities in Chile and across the sector. Chile is important to us and our customers seeking to use sustainably sourced ingredients from the region. This is the culmination of more than 5 years of work with the WWF team on fisheries and we look forward to the next phase now”, notes Juan Enrique Rosales, managing director, Cargill Aqua Nutrition, Chile.

“The only way we are going to have a meaningful impact across our seas and coastal communities is by working together across industry and supply chains. The financing model that we are deploying for the first time in Chile is both equitable and scalable and includes the support from local actors all the way up through our customers – a true sea to plate model – that we are eager to see applied in other important sourcing geographies for Skretting,” says Jorge Diaz Salinas, Sustainability Manager for Skretting.

“Creative ideas and new partnerships can protect our ocean resources. They can also protect people and communities. This is the first fisheries improvement effort funded through an innovative supply chain financing mechanism. The FIF marks a step-change in the way fisheries improvement is funded globally. The industry’s commitment to integrating the cost of sustainability into their sourcing budgets will show the true cost of seafood. This model can also be scaled globally. By investing in this work, we can make a difference in a rapidly changing world,” says Teresa Ish, Oceans Initiative Lead and Senior Program Officer, Environment Program for Walton Family Foundation.

The establishment of this FIP in collaboration with the FIF will provide the necessary resources to secure the natural capital underpinning this high-volume fishery, which is a critical source of marine ingredients in feed for both regional and global salmon production. Fisheries and aquaculture are essential to the economy and livelihoods of more than 300,000 people in Chile’s coastal communities, a large percentage of whom work directly in the anchoveta fishing industry and salmon farming.

“We are at a crucial moment for pelagic fisheries and their sustainability, implementing an ecosystem approach and reducing both by-catch and illegal, undeclared and unregulated fishing is an urgent step that we will address with this initiative. Equally relevant is to be able to advance on these issues jointly with actors from the artisanal and industrial fishing sectors, a process that we hope will have a positive impact, considering also the importance of the small pelagic fisheries, such as anchoveta and the common sardine have, due to the high number of landings and also the size of the fleet that participates in these fisheries.” Says Mariann Breu, Senior Manager Footprint & Markets at WWF Chile.

Drawing on Finance Earth’s expertise in this field, the concept demonstrates innovation in how to finance pressing on-the-water conservation projects by blending private and philanthropic capital.

“At Finance Earth, we believe in advancing the improvement of global fisheries by providing innovative solutions. We are thrilled to be launching this first project with WWF Chile and prominent feed and buyer companies to provide finance for fisheries improvements in this critical region. This approach has the capacity to attract a range of investors from the public and private sectors to support fishery improvement worldwide and we are eager to demonstrate the viability of this model through this first project. This is a unique opportunity for all of us to protect our oceans and invest in a sustainable blue economy,” explains Elizabeth Beall, Managing Director at Finance Earth.

Finance Earth is now seeking proposals for fisheries worldwide that may be interested in seeking funding through the new Fisheries Improvement Fund and is 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. The FIF can support both industrial and artisanal, small-scale fisheries, and is open to fisheries currently in a FIP or not yet in a FIP. Please visit (https://finance.earth/fif/) to learn more and submit a fishery for consideration.

About Finance Earth:

Finance Earth is the UK’s leading environmental impact investment boutique, providing financial advisory and fund management services across the natural and built environment both in the UK and internationally. Finance Earth helps create projects – and the investment vehicles to fund them – that positively balance outcomes for nature, communities, and investors.

For further information please contact fif@finance.earth