In October 2014, 4 fishermen associations became certified against the first Fair Trade Wild Capture Fisheries standard. Since August 2013, Fishing & Living, MDPI, Anova USA, Fair Trade USA and, of course, the fishermen, have been working continuously to bring the Central Maluku Yellowfin tuna fishery to Fair Trade certification. It has not been an easy journey but it has certainly been a worthwhile one!
FairTrade’s goal is to see more resilient livelihoods in coastal communities, improved working and living conditions, increased supply and demand for responsibly sourced seafood, and enhanced environmental stewardship and ecosystem protection. The philosophy of Fair Trade certification is directly in line with Fishing & Living’s vision that sustainable fisheries go hand in hand with thriving fishing communities.
What did it take to achieve Fair Trade USA certification?
1. Development of the standard
Since 2012, Fair Trade USA has been in conversations with fishing communities, marine conservation specialists, marine certification experts and market partners throughout the supply chain. These conversations and exchanges helped develop the Fair Trade standard for capture fisheries. Each of the allies involved in the development and implementation. Anova/ Fishing & Living’s participation, as the one of the market partners has consisted in engaging its supply chain partners and providing feedback on the realities faced by fishing communities, ensuring that the fishermen and its community is at the center of the standard.
In May 2013, the FairTrade Fisheries Advisory Council (FAC) was elected to consult on the conservation, economic and applied aspects of the Fair Trade Fisheries program. The members can be viewed here.
2. Implementation: Fishermen Training and formation of fishermen associations
The implementation phase started in August 2013, when Asilulu (Ambon Island) was chosen as the first site and Coral Triangle Processors (CTP)/ Anova USA were designated as the Market Access Partner. A series of workshops took place, such as Fair Trade certified farmers sharing their experience with the fishermen and the formation of 3 initial fishermen associations. From November 2013 to March 2014, fishermen from Buru Island were added to the Fair Trade pilot and 5 fishermen associations were formed. Led by Momo Kochen, our partner NGO Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) has been instrumental in carrying out trainings, organizing meetings among fishermen and preparing the Islands’ Fair Trade Committees (FTC) for the first audit. A dedicated MDPI Fair Trade team are based in each location.
In both location (Buru Island and Asilulu) 2 Fair Trade Committees (FTC) were formed in April 2014. Each FTC consists of representatives of each fishermen association. It is the FTCs that receive the Fair Trade premium and manage how it will be invested in community development projects as well as improvement of the sustainability of their fishery.
In June 2014, the Year 0 audit was carried out by SCS Global Services. The Fair Trade standard uses a stepwise approach over a period of 5 years. This means that every year, the Fair Trade fishermen groups will undergo an audit that requires continuous improvements of social, economic and environmental aspects.
In October 2014, the two FTCs became Fair Trade certified. Read here what it means to the fishermen and the hard-working team of MDPI!
5. The FairTrade Premium
In December 2014, the 2 FTCs received their first Fair Trade premium checks. Coral Triangle Processor/Anova USA are the Market Access Partner. This means they are responsible for submitting the premium to the two Fair Trade Committees. The premium is defined by Fair Trade USA and consists of approximately 10% of the price at landing. Safeway, one of Fair Trade’s USA retail partner, will be the distributing the product to market.