Fishery Improvement Projects

IFFO & GAA: Driving change in South East Asian trawl fisheries, fishmeal supply, and aquafeed


Information is generally lacking about South East Asian fisheries in terms of their biology, fishing practices, and environmental impact, as well as their contributions for social (employment, food security implications, etc.), or economic (value, trade dynamics, etc.) factors.  Some social and fisheries management issues are well known and attract criticism right across the fisheries, fishmeal, fish feed, aquaculture, seafood and retail sectors, both in SEA and beyond where some of the markets for the regional products extend.  It is challenging to assess long-term viability, yet these fisheries are of key importance to direct and indirect food security in the region and globally, and represent a regional societal vulnerability.  What is needed urgently is an understanding of these fisheries from the perspective of social, economic and environmental sustainability.

The regional challenge with fisheries management is reflected within the raw material supply for aquaculture.  The SEA fisheries provide a large volume of raw material for fishmeal and fish oil production, which is supplied into the aquafeed markets in SEA for manufacture of feed for the regional aquaculture industry.  The development of certification standards for aquafeeds has placed additional emphasis on the importance of sourcing sustainable feed ingredients, and the importance of sourcing fishmeal and fish oil through certification schemes such as the IFFO RS is now being brought to the fore.  Improvements need to be made in the region in order to fill this gap in supply.

The Issue:

The global fishmeal sector is generally well-managed and responsible in its operations as seen by the high proportion of uptake of the IFFO RS (Responsible Supply) scheme.  One region where there are documented issues relating to social and environmental concerns is South East Asia, and in order to remove the vulnerabilities for the industry that are associated with practices in the region, it is important to understand the supply chain with a view to developing improvement projects in the future.


Applications are invited for project proposals that address the current situation.  Providing information and data on important aspects of the SEA trawl fisheries will be a first step towards making change in these systems.  The focus of effort will be on the countries of Thailand and Vietnam given those countries importance in fishmeal and fish oil manufacture and supply.  A knowledge base should be established covering at least the following areas to examine the overall regional issues:

  • identify all issues
  • identify all the regional actors
  • identify and extract available data concerning economic, environmental and social sustainability, extending from the SEA capture fisheries as far through the aquaculture supply chain as possible
  • assess regional actors’ contributions to the issues (including scope for achieving positive impacts)
  • identify specific priorities to change
  • assess regional actors’ potential to make change
  • provide recommendations and develop a plan for implementation to manage a change process, covering short, medium and long term time-scales. 

Vulnerability and the level of risk associated with farmed and wild seafood in the region will be reduced over time as additional information feeds into a process that facilitates change.  This will be a first phase of project work that is likely to extend over many years, but progress is likely to occur continually over time as information is provided.

Project Objectives:

  • Develop an improved understanding of the SEA mixed trawl fisheries and any other raw material supply into the fishmeal industry, as well as the fishmeal industry itself, by extracting data from available sources that relate to economic, environmental and social issues;  
  • Propose a plan for a change process in seafood supply in the region, including FIPs and any other relevant approaches including fisheries management strategies, government regulation, certification schemes, etc.;
  • Provide a comprehensive report summarising the issues, the actors, and the plan for change, including proposals for projects to implement the change process.  

Stakeholders: SFP, Retailers, Regional National Governments, FAO, Worldfish, Feed companies; Aquaculture companies; Fisheries companies; Fishmeal companies; NGOs; seafood certification schemes.

Contractor: Fish Matter (Duncan Leadbitter)

Proposed Timeline:  Project commences 01/07/2017 and runs for a period of 18 months.