Aquaculture for all

Fresh hope for Mexican shrimp initiative

Shrimp Sustainability +3 more

A project that aims to improve the sustainability of the Gulf of California shrimp fishery has been taken over by two of the largest importers of Mexican shrimp into the USA.

Meridian Products and Ocean Garden have pledged to work together to finance and take on the leadership of the Gulf of California industrial shrimp Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in Mexico.

The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) started improvement work on the fishery in 2007, and led improvement efforts until 2016 before starting to transfer leadership to industry. A key part of the FIP has been ensuring good compliance with all Mexican fisheries regulations. Meridian Products, as part of the SFP-led FIP in 2013-2014, was the first company to apply control documents in Mexico and have compliance of fishing vessels supplying them checked by an independent auditor.

“The sustainability of the resource is entirely dependent upon the fishermen and shipowners,” said Rick Martin, President of Meridian Products. “The control document is the public and legal commitment of the shipowners to undertake that responsibility.”

In addition to control documents, the FIP is focusing on dialogue with the Mexican authorities to strengthen the formal stock assessment process, another critical requirement to ensure long-term sustainability of the resource.

“The stock assessment is the single most important indicator as to the current health of the species, and the predictor of future stock. Healthy fisheries are the life-blood to the economy and to the long-term sustainability of the ocean and the shrimp industry,” said Lance Leonard, President and CEO of Ocean Garden.

The FIP signed agreements with Pesca Responsable y Comercio Justo, a Mexican company, to provide technical support and aid with public reporting.

SFP continues to convene major importers to encourage FIPs to address all critical issues, determine ways for other companies to support the FIPs, and ultimately bring the entire fishery forward together to seek MSC certification of all target shrimp species, and an updated rating from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.

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