Coastal Fisheries Initiative

World-wide task force unites to preserve coastal fisheries and marine resources

Coastal Fisheries Initiative empowers communities to manage ecosystems and promote diversity in drive to offset challenges of global pandemic


22 February 2021, Rome, Italy - The Coastal Fisheries Initiative (CFI), funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), convenes this week for a brainstorming session aimed at accelerating environmental, social, and economic sustainability in coastal fisheries as communities around the globe strive to face-off the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The central themes of the event include fisheries governance and improvements of value chains, which are reeling from the global health emergency that has hit the fisheries industry hard, sparking major disruptions in supply and demand.

Long-standing business plans for sustainable fisheries and the promotion of cross-sector investment opportunities are at the helm of the week-long talks between partners advocating for the world’s coastal communities, including Indonesia.

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“The CFI is in its early stages in Indonesia and our target is to increase the economic and social value of the sector while empowering those groups reliant on coastal fisheries to safeguard their own lives and livelihoods by employing productive management methodologies,” said World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Senior Program Officer Heike Lingertat.

Indonesia is the world’s second largest fisheries producer after China, generating millions of dollars in annual exports. Yet those benefits come at tremendous risk from factors such as unsustainable fishing methods, she added: “Indonesia has embraced an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM), but significant resources are still needed to develop the tools that will ensure the sustainability of the country’s fishing and marine resources.”

Indonesia is one the countries covered by the CFI’s Challenge Fund, which operates in Cabo Verde, Ecuador and Peru as well, and aims to engage businesses and the financing community in making coastal fisheries more sustainable and productive.

Led by the World Bank, the Challenge Fund is working to make the connection between business and fishing communities, as well as government and investors. When the interests of all those parties are aligned, they have the power to improve coastal fish resources, to enhance the wellbeing of communities and to boost local and national economies.

Blue transformation: accelerating prospects for prosperity

“The ambition of our joint initiative is to scale-up local, holistic and ecosystem-based management approaches to generate sustainable environmental, social and economic benefits so that they reach coastal communities around the world,” said GEF Senior Environmental Specialist Leah Karrer.

“The ability of ocean ecosystems to support long-term economic growth and essential protein-packed diets is immense, yet it is threatened by human activities. These threats are exacerbated by fragmented and uncoordinated management decisions – we are here to address those to ensure future generations can benefit from measures taken now to build back better,” added Karrer.

“Over the coming years, our vision is to expand this global partnership, unite and share the best practices on sustainable fisheries management around the world and drive transformative changes to reach the coastal fisheries communities and the most vulnerable people on the planet,” said FAO Senior Fishery Officer Nathanael Hishamunda.

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Pioneering positive development practices

Mangrove sites in Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal are undergoing reforms, covering about 700 hectares of reforested land under the CFI to improve fisheries governance and bolster seafood value chains in West Africa, Latin America, and Indonesia.

CFI Indonesia is led by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in collaboration with WWF and Conservation International (CI) that promotes sustainable financing in fisheries through the Blue Abadi Fund, a conservation trust fund in support of the financing portfolio for the Bird’s Head Seascape, where part of the CFI funds have been invested.

CI is also a partner for the CFI in Latin America, led by the UN’s Development Programme (UNDP) and supporting the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF).

In West-Africa, FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/ Abidjan Convention have partnered up to protect rich mangrove ecosystems, while improving the livelihoods of fishery-dependent populations.

In 2020, some 350 hectares of mangroves were restored in Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal while in Latin-America, the UNDP has linked science to local communities in Peru and Ecuador to boost shell productivity. A participatory approach to mangrove management has been introduced to foster vibrant ocean and coastal areas as well as economic growth.

The CFI is a global effort funded by the GEF bringing together UN agencies and international conservation organizations to advance fisheries management and conserve marine biodiversity in coastal areas through improved governance and strengthening the seafood value chain.