The Global Marine Commodities (GMC) Project focuses on improving fisheries governance by bringing governments, the private sector, civil society and multilateral cooperation partners together to design science-based fisheries management and action plans. This initiative achieves this goal by employing and strengthening emerging tools such as corporate purchasing policies, sustainable marine commodity platforms, and fisheries improvement projects (FIPs). The GMC Project harnesses both top-down market-driven incentives, and a bottom-up public governance model to effectively drive sustainability to “meet in the middle” of fishery supply chain interface.
First, the project helps establish or strengthen Sustainable Marine Commodity Platforms (SMCPs) as overarching policy dialogue spaces where Government, NGOs and academia, exporters, fisherfolk and producers come together to debate and formulate national policy and plans for the sustainability of the target fishery commodities. The SMCP is the “bottom-up” consultative body that seeks to empower multiple groups of stakeholders to formulate management strategies aimed at promoting shared objectives for the long-term sustainable use of fishery resources. Simultaneously, the project helps build “topdown” incentives from international seafood buyers and retailers to encourage producing countries to take necessary actions so that they can achieve “verified improvements” or “certified sustainable” fisheries. For example, through their Supply Chain Roundtables (SRs), SFP hosts fora for international seafood buyers who source directly from a specific seafood sector so that the buyers can work together in a pre-competitive environment to foster improvements in fisheries or aquaculture. Members of the SRs often prioritize sourcing seafood from Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) and can even provide financial contributions to FIPs, ensuring adequate market support for the implementation of the incremental improvements needed to achieve sustainability.
If there is an increased international and national demand for sustainable seafood and fish-derived products (by retailers and suppliers) and these actors have the interest and necessary information to source seafood and products from fisheries that are certified sustainable or making regular verifiable improvements toward certification; and if national governments enable multi-stakeholder dialogue to drive consensus driven, gender balanced, science-based fisheries management policy; and if national and local seafood producers and supply chain actors collaborate in participatory decision-making for fisheries management policy and these actors are keen to fund or co-fund the improvements needed to integrate sustainability into their fishing activities; then public governance systems for fisheries management will be characterized by women and men actively managing fisheries and ecosystems to promote the resilience of fish stocks and the production of seafood that is making verifiable improvements toward sustainable use; which will then result in secure natural capital and improved social and economic performance for fishery supply chains; and in turn will reduce overexploitation of fisheries, thereby generating long-term and cascading ecosystem benefits.