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IFFO Backs Marine Mammal, Turtle Conservation in South America

Sustainability Politics Education & academia +1 more

SOUTH AMERICA - IFFO (the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation) is backing an initiative by one of its members, the Compaa Pesquera Camanchaca (Camanchaca), which aims to teach fishermen the art of environmental stewardship, better protecting marine animals including dolphins, sea turtles and sharks.

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The initiative provides training for the senior crew who work aboard Camanchacas vessels that land in the northern Chilean port of Iquique. The scheme will contribute towards the gathering of vital research information that will be used to help in the conservation of protected marine species. The first seminar took place during April 2012.

IFFO has developed a Global Standard for Responsible Supply (IFFO RS) for Fishmeal and Fish Oil. Its overarching programme includes the goal to reduce any potential environmental impact arising from fishing catches made within its responsibly managed fisheries.

Camanchaca was one of the first companies in Chile to have its factories certified under the IFFO RS standard earlier this year. It has now formed a partnership with the Department of Marine Sciences of the Arturo Prat University and its Technical Training Centre, to offer specialised training seminars to the fishermen.

Large marine animals are sometimes captured in the fishing nets designed to catch small oily fish such as anchovy and sardine, ingredients used in the production of fishmeal for animal feed and fish oil for human consumption. IFFO is keen to ensure that its members are aware of the importance of conserving marine creatures as part of the marine eco-system.

Topics covered at the seminars include the ability to identify and correctly record data on protected marine mammals found off the coast of northern Chile, as well as learning how to safely return these creatures to the sea with the minimum risk of damage. Mr Adolfo Carvajal, Camanchacas Manager for the Northern Fishing Area said Sustainable development requires us to take action in order to control the impact of our activities on the marine environment and without a doubt we have now undertaken actions in this respect. These training seminars for our senior crew members will allow them to demonstrate Camanchacas commitment to the responsible sourcing of fish.

Andrew Jackson, Technical Director at IFFO said: IFFO is delighted to see this excellent initiative from Camanchaca in Chile and indeed other recent developments in South America regarding the quantification and avoidance of the incidental catches of marine mammals and sea turtles. In creating the IFFO RS standard we were hopeful that this type of conservation programme would be developed by our members and we look forward to hearing more good news in the future.

The Chile based project follows one taken last year In Peru, in which a number of fishing companies working with environmental NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) such as the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and ProDelphinus distributed a series of turtle identification and resuscitation guides and held a series of training courses.

Dawn Purchase, Senior Aquaculture Officer at MCS said: I am delighted with the success of this project and the spin-off conservation courses being run for fishermen. The IFFO RS standard provides a real opportunity to promote change on the water, which is what MCS strives to achieve. Increasing the identification skills and conservation knowledge of these fishermen in both Peru and Chile is a great way of achieving environmental stewardship.