BRUSSELS — Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) is pleased to announce the beginning of a fishery improvement project (FIP) for small pelagic fisheries in the West African nation of Mauritania.

International fishing sector stakeholders, fishmeal and fish oil buyers, exporters, and processors, together with the Mauritanian fishery authority, signed a memorandum of understanding at the Seafood Expo in Brussels today, marking the FIP’s official beginning. The organizations share a common commitment to sustainable fisheries and collaborating to publicly evaluate and improve the fishery.

Although the Mauritanian small pelagic fishery does not yet have a finalized management plan, the country’s fisheries ministry said a legislative framework exists: a 2015 law establishing the code of fishing, and its decree of application and the ordinances and decrees attached to it. In addition, a Commission for Fisheries Management Support and a National Commission for Sustainable Management of Small Pelagics have been in place since 2012.

”At OLVEA Fish Oils we take responsible sourcing seriously and we are committed to promoting sustainable fishing wherever we are located and as our sustainable charter indicates. We have been working in Mauritania for 5 years, investing in partnerships with local enterprises and the national government to ensure we understand environmental impacts and act to minimize them. We recognized that a FIP was the most appropriate method for achieving our goals in Mauritania because of the partnership approach and method of continuous improvement,” said Antoine Dangy, OLVEA Fish Oils Sustainability Manager.

The FIP is working on a fishery assessment that will identify gaps to the IFFO RS standards (working toward MSC certification in the future). Workshops will take these evaluations forward to develop a FIP workplan and identify improvement actions.

“We’re delighted that the FIP model is being embraced in Western Africa,” said Pedro Ferreiro, Deputy Buyer Engagement Director at SFP. “The collaborative and flexible approach to fishery sustainability a FIP brings seems to be appropriate for organizations working in these supply chains. We will also shortly be launching a Mauritanian Octopus Supplier Roundtable to promote sustainability in these fisheries.”

Other stakeholders directly involved with the FIP include le Ministère de Pêches et de l’Economie Maritime (MPEM), la Fédération Nationale des Pêches  (FNP), la Section Industrie des Protéine de la Mer (SIPM), l’Institut Mauritanien de Recherche Océanographique et des Pêches (IMROP), l’Office Nationale d’Inspection Sanitaire des Produits de la  Pêche et de l’Aquaculture (ONISPA), Rim Fish Meal, and OLVEA Group subsidiary Winterisation Mauritania. This collection of stakeholders allows for a holistic approach to improving the fishery, targeting its conservation, economic, and social objectives.

The first FIP meeting will be held later this summer in Nouakchott. Updates will be posted on the Fishery Progress website (