Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition (Forum FSN)

SmartFish is a hybrid enterprise based in Mexico that has developed a suite of tools, capacity building and technical support for small-scale fisher groups to access better-paying markets for sustainably caught seafood. We call this the Value Rescue Model and its purpose is to develop the capacities of small-scale fisher organizations to:

  1. Improve the quality and value of their products,
  2. Strengthen the entrepreneurial capacities of their organization; and
  3. Internalize fisheries management measures

By improving quality, processing and freezing their harvests and thereby accessing a different seafood market segment, small-scale fisher organizations are able to transition from price-takers to entrepreneurs. The lessons learned over the past 10 years are documented in the Value Rescue Guidelines shared here.

Value rescue refers to the deliberate harnessing of profits generated from business-related innovations and improvements for the betterment of environmental and social sustainability in small-scale fisheries. The end goal of the value rescue process is to develop fisheries that deliver high-quality, food safety certified seafood that is independently verifiable as environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.

In development and fisheries improvement processes, value adding generally consists of analyzing production and supply chains to identify ways in which additional value can be generated for the same raw material (eg processing seafood that would otherwise be sold whole round). Value rescue extends typical value addition in three ways:

  1. Adding and recovering value: beyond simple value addition, VR includes recuperating value that is otherwise lost by improving production (catch, handling processing, cold chain, transport, thereby improving product quality) and business practices (administration, production costs, planning, marketing, logistics, etc).
  2. Retaining value: VR includes increasing the proportion of value retained by fishers (through a combination of enterprise development and disintermediation)
  3. Incentivizing improvement: additional value added, recovered, and retained is deliberately harnessed to finance improvement of fisheries’ environmental and social performance.