A majority of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited or overexploited at a time when 37 percent of the global population (~2.8 billion people) lives in coastal communities. Many of these communities depend on the health of the oceans for their livelihoods, and the issue of overfishing is as much a human problem as it is an environmental one. Reducing overfishing requires both better business practices and natural resource conservation.
Our work happens where people, technology, science, business and finance collide. With deep knowledge of the seafood industry, we build collaborations of stakeholders. And with them, we identify and plug gaps in the system, leverage existing resources and build actionable platforms that incentivize engagement.
Our approach centers on making connections. On bringing fishing communities, funders, seafood businesses and others to the table to tap into the freshest ideas out there. For us, innovation never manifests as a silver bullet. It means carefully crafted solutions that are rooted in system forces, strategic alignment and scalability.
We are a diverse group including design thinkers, entrepreneurs, business consultants and scientists. Together, we’re more than the sum of our parts. Our work is sharpened by our diversity—in experience, in background, and in thought. As a team, we’re thirsty for a challenge and thrive when tackling some of the world’s most complex problems.
In March, a group of notable Peruvian chefs and fishermen got together on Zoom to discuss how they can work together to solve challenges they face with marine resources. We also invited fishers and chefs from Mexico, Chile and South Africa to share solutions towards sustainable fishing and responsible consumption.
Workers in small scale fisheries make up over 90% of all seafood employees. These small fisheries, spread from Chile to Belize to Vietnam, catch 50% of the seafood eaten around the world. Small scale fishing can be a hard life — long days on the water, stock fluctuations due to climate change or overfishing, and often low prices. Still: fishing is a lifestyle, a living, a tradition, and a way to support families and communities. For small scale fishers who want to improve their practices, modernize their operations, or make changes to ensure they’re fishing sustainably, support and resources can be hard to come by. We’re out to change that.
Claudio is a marine biologist from south-central Chile where he has developed his work with artisanal fishing communities engaged in diving and small-scale fishing. He has promoted fishery certification projects, direct marketing of seafood products, small-scale aquaculture and community tourism with the aim of seeking alternatives for fishery diversification to improve the quality of life of artisanal fishermen.For Claudio, social innovation is a key driver in the search for alternatives that help improve the quality of life of artisanal fishermen and other disadvantaged groups in society. Q: How did you find your way into marine issues?
At Future of Fish, we collaborate with governments and international experts to design, implement, and finance lasting and equitable fisheries data collection and analysis systems. While no two projects ever look the same, a combination of work on the ground and in-depth research over the past three years has allowed us to uncover some commonly occuring barriers, opportunities, and best practices for this process that cross geographies and stakeholders.
Small scale fishers in Peru have to travel over double the distance than in the past to find their catch, disrupting communities, livelihoods, and threatening food security. The question is: how is this change expected to continue in the future? Future of Fish is working with communities to identify solutions to support sustainable fishing and understanding climate change impacts is key to design solutions that will build resiliency and help the communities to adapt for years to come.
After a year (or more, depending on where you’re located) of Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns almost nothing about our work in fisheries looks the same as it did before. At the beginning of 2020, we were deeply embedded in on-the-ground projects with small scale fisheries in Peru and Chile, and developing projects in Vietnam and the Caribbean. As the virus first spread, it became too risky for many of our staff and fisher colleagues to continue to work or fish in the field, especially as personal protective equipment was difficult to access in those initial months. And so we began a period of rapid transition, pivoting our efforts to ensure we could support the immediate needs of fishers and their communities.