corsus meetings with fishing associations in South Africa
As part of the CLIF project, corsus met the fishing associations of the sardine and deep-sea hake fisheries. In the CLIF partner country South Africa, the focus of the case studies on the environmental impacts of food production is, among others, on marine biodiversity.
In recent decades, the use of fish and other marine life has increased dramatically worldwide. Many fish stocks are already fully exploited or overfished. The associated environmental impacts, in particular the loss of biodiversity, are – along with climate change – among the greatest ecological challenges of our time. In South Africa itself, the stocks of many line fish species have been overfished or collapsed. In addition, significant amounts of bycatch (accidental catches of non-target species) are often produced. There is also the challenge of how to protect the declining population of the endangered South African penguin while at the same time ensuring nutrition and employment of the local human population.
Due to these challenges and growing interest in sustainable fishery products, corsus’ partner WWF Südafrika , in the SASSI project is working with a wide range of stakeholders, from large fisheries to subsistence fishermen, as well as marine scientists, governments, consumers, retail partners, restaurants and other environmental NGOs to bring about positive change in fisheries. corsus and WWF South Africa met representatives of the „South African Deep Trawl Hake Fishing Association (SADSTIA) “, the „South African Hake Longline Association (SAHLLA) “ and the “South African Pelagic Fishing Indsutrie Association (SAPFIA)”. Important effects of the sustainability of the fishing industry and the impact they have on marine biodiversity were discussed. In addition, the most important categories for measuring relevant environmental impacts were pointed out.
Over 800,000 tonnes of fish are caught annually, most of which are exported. With a turnover of around R4.3 billion per year (2019) and around 50% of the total value of commercial fishing, deep-sea fishing is the most valuable and highest-ranking fishing sector. 12,400 people are directly or indirectly employed. 60% of the catch is exported. Since 2004, the deep-sea hake, which is caught with coastal trawls, has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Due to overfishing, the government granted 55 licensed fishing rights to the Hake Trawlers for a period of 15 years, whereas the market is dominated by three major companies.
The sardine fishery by „purse seine“ method is the largest fishery in South Africa in terms of the quantity of fish landed, second only to deep-sea hake fishing in terms of value. Sardines are mainly processed in South Africa in cans for human consumption and pet food. In 2016, sardine biomass experienced a massive decline, resulting in limited fishing rights and the determination of total allowable catch quotas. The sardine stock is not considered threatened, but fully exploited.
The results of the meeting will be included in further steps of the clif project and contribute significantly to the development of environmental impact assessment in the field of marine biodiversity. We would like to thank our South African partners for the interesting and profound insights and look forward to further cooperation.
The goal of ‘CLIF’ is to design an internationally usable communication tool for consumer-friendly information about the sustainability of selected food products. In the project, led by WWF Germany, corsus as implementation partner identifies relevant environmental impacts of food products in Germany, South Africa, Thailand and Paraguay. The seven-member team, led by Dr. Ulrike Eberle, is conducting life cycle assessment case studies in the four countries. In workshops, corsus discusses with stakeholders of the target regions, NGOs and international LCA experts the priority of different environmental impacts of food products, taking into account country-specific differences. In addition, corsus is developing guidelines for providing data for the communication tool. The project, which is scheduled to run until the end of 2024, is funded under the International Climate Investment (ICI) program. The website provides background information and current news about CLIF. A factsheet and a short PowerPoint presentation are available for download.