Today, on World Fisheries Day, it is important to reflect on the future we want to see:
The small-scale fishing sector is a force of innovation, pushing for new ways of producing and consuming food. Small-scale fishers around the world have seen the benefits that comes with ensuring and proving sustainability. They have adapted best practices and have become ambassadors of low-impact fishing. A new seafood market is connecting them with millions of consumers that base their choices on modern meanings of quality that goes beyond specific species and gives value to the story of the product and its power to create strong links between the consumer, the producer and the planet. Consumers are no longer just passive buyers of seafood, but are part of a community that takes cares of the ocean and its people. This community is wide and deep, as it brings together low impact fishers, restaurateurs, consumer groups, progressive retailers and brokers, experts on fisheries, cooperative economy pioneers, marketing professionals, local authorities, NGOs and grassroots groups.
We can already see changes shining through the cracks of the current seafood industry that pushes the oceans and the small scale fishers to the brink of collapse. Pioneering low impact fishers and market players see the rising demand for fair and sustainable seafood and are taking advantage of the tools provided by emerging technology to open new paths for their products and tell their story that sets them apart and above the rest. Peer to peer platforms are nourishing new type of connections between different players; connected devices (internet of things) provide real-time data on fishing and other related activities; social media networks give producers the opportunity to reach new and wider audiences; digital public ledgers (e.g. blockchain) offer new possibilities for a decentralized governance.
These initiatives are still drops in the ocean of a market that is based on low values and high volumes. They are, however, making a blueprint for a transition to a fairer model. There is an evident need for a movement — a community of similar minded people — that will nourish this emerging vision, set it up on stronger foundations and overturn the existing market.
Greenpeace is publishing its Roadmap to Fair Fisheries as a call to action. In the coming months our work will focus mainly in Greece, Italy and Spain, though our ambition is to connect with players on a global scale.
This transition is already coming to life across the planet by a wide movement of people and organisations fighting to change the way we produce and consume our food. Greenpeace recognises their efforts and successes to establish an alternative food system. With this publication, Greenpeace wants to express its solidarity to them, stand by their side and invite them to explore together the pathway for a fair and sustainable future for our oceans.
If you want to play a transformative role in shaping a new fisheries economy together with Greenpeace please get in touch here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alkis Kafetzis is an oceans campaigner with Greenpeace Greece