Promoting Sustainable Wild Capture Fishery

The fishing industry in Vietnam is a major source of employment and income. There are about five million people working in fishing, the majority of whom are women. Wild capture fishery, meaning wild fish caught in either saltwater or freshwater, employs more than 1.4 million fishers.

As the demand for fish increases, overfishing is becoming a problem. Over the last 20 years, there has been a 60 percent drop in fishing yields. More than three-fourths of Vietnam’s coral reefs are at risk of being destroyed because of intensive fishing.

Faced with growing pressure from consumers and importing countries, the Vietnamese government and wild capture fishery businesses are starting to respond to the need for a sustainable fishing trade. The government has promoted a code of conduct on responsible fishery, although implementation remains limited. Other projects have aimed to improve specific fishing practices, such as trawl fishing and fishing of tuna, driven in part by the demand from seafood buyers, retailers and NGOs. In addition, several seafood certification schemes have been introduced, for example by the Marine Stewardship Council and Friends of the Sea.

However, there is still limited awareness of these initiatives within the local fishing industry, fishery associations and the government. In general, corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives continue to be seen by the fishing industry as an additional cost, rather than something that can benefit the sector.

Encouraging CSR practices in supply chains

To develop and promote CSR practices within wild capture fishery supply chains, Oxfam is carrying out a one-year pilot project in Hai Phong, Nghe An, Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Ben Tre and Kien Giang provinces. The aim is to ensure that CSR practices are integrated into wild capture fishery supply chains by a number of important stakeholders, including fishing vessel owners, traders, processing plants, fish feed producers and retailers.

In order to achieve this, Oxfam is analysing the current status of CSR practices and the regulatory framework for capture fisheries in Vietnam. We then developed an action plan to integrate CSR standards into both government and private sector policies, focusing on current benchmarks and certifications. Training and guidelines have been provided to different value chain actors. Dialogues between value chain actors and the Directorate of Fisheries have been held to discuss the challenges identified through pilot activities and work out possible solutions.

The project is being implemented by ICAFIS, an NGO linked to the Vietnam Fisheries Society that promotes sustainable fisheries development. Oxfam’s support is focused on conducting research, supporting stakeholders to engage in policy advocacy dialogue and making sure that good practices on integrating CSR in the capture fishery supply chain are documented and shared widely, thereby benefiting the whole fishing industry.

Details

Project: Promoting CSR practices in Vietnam wild capture fishery

Location: Hai Phong, Nghe An, Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Ben Tre and Kien Giang provinces

Time frame: 2015. This pilot has enabled the development of multi-year programme.

Funding: Oxfam core funding