Washington, September 24, 2014 – Today, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank Group approved a $10 million project to address the decline of important migratory fish stocks in both coastal areas and areas beyond national jurisdiction. The Ocean Partnerships for Sustainable Fisheries & Biodiversity Conservation Project aims to improve the management of high value migratory species and maintain the economic benefits of sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation for developing countries and communities. More than a billion people rely on fish as their main source of protein and about 300 million are employed in jobs linked to healthy oceans.
“The health and productivity of global fish stocks are under threat from overfishing, habitat destruction and marine pollution, all made worse by a patchwork of insufficient governance arrangements,” said Paula Caballero, World Bank Senior Director for the Environment and Natural Resources. “There is growing consensus that sustainable management of valuable fish stocks is essential if national and local economies are to continue deriving benefits from them and if we are serious about securing food and livelihoods well into the future.”
While many fish populations fall within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of individual countries, migratory species such as tunas, billfishes and sharks travel between EEZs and into areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJs). These fish stocks represent some of the most economically valuable species in the ocean. The tuna fishery alone engages 85 countries and is valued at US$10 billion a year.
“The fact that these stocks are both high value and transboundary makes them uniquely challenging to manage effectively,” said Tim Bostock, World Bank Fisheries Expert. “We are now at a crucial juncture. We believe this project will spur the type of innovative and concerted action -- within and beyond national jurisdictions -- that is so urgently needed.”
The GEF has committed $10 million in grants to be allocated in four marine regions: Western Atlantic and Caribbean, Bay of Bengal, Western and Central Pacific, and the Eastern Pacific. Grants will facilitate development of innovative management solutions implemented in partnership with regional actors from both public and private sectors.
This project builds upon other World Bank ocean and coastal management work including the Pacific Regional Oceanscape Project (PROP) and recent investments to support tuna fisheries management and sustainable livelihoods in India. The GEF is committed to this effort in support of focal areas concerned with biodiversity restoration and cooperative management of international waters.
“Productive fisheries, ocean biodiversity and growing coastal economies are not necessarily conflicting objectives,” said Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs at the GEF. “Continued mismanagement of fisheries represents one of the most serious threats to marine biodiversity and livelihoods in developing countries. Reformed fisheries management can contribute significantly to fishery productivity and biodiversity restoration while supporting livelihoods.
About the GEF and the World Bank
The Global Environment Facility is a partnership for international cooperation where 183 countries work together with international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector, to address global environmental issues. The GEF serves as financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It also works closely with the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances. The World Bank is one of GEF’s implementing agencies and supports countries in preparing GEF co-financed projects and supervising their implementation in areas that are consistent with GEF objectives and national sustainable development strategies
The World Bank Group’s vision is a world free of poverty. To support this vision, the World Bank’s Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice provides expertise, technical assistance and financing to help developing countries strategically manage their environment and natural resources to end poverty and boost shared prosperity in a sustainable manner