Ecuador: Sustainable Fisheries
Ecuador is home to one of the richest fishing grounds globally as well as the largest small-scale artisanal fishing fleet in the Southeast Pacific Ocean. Ecuador's many coastal communities are highly involved and dependent on the marine sector, with the small-scale artisanal fishing fleet alone comprising of 15,500 fishing vessels and directly employing 58,000 individuals. In 2015, the supply chain of marine commodities (fishers, processors, transportation, refrigeration, etc.) represented 1.5% of Ecuador’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), demonstrating its importance nationally as well as locally. Several fisheries in the country have been working towards sustainable practices - but lack of information, regional stock management strategies and national participatory governance have slowed down progresss towards sustainable practices.
In Ecuador, the UNDP Green Commodities Programme is supporting the Global Marine Commodities (GMC) project, which aims to contribute to the transformation of the marine sector and work towards a sustainable supply chain of fishery commodities in Ecuador, Costa Rica, the Philippines and Indonesia. The initiative applies the UNDP Green Commodities Programme's signature Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration for Systemic Change approach and methodology (see Our Focus). The project within Ecuador is implemented by the Ministries and Bureaus of Fisheries and Planning and hopes to directly benefit 105,000 individuals whose livelihoods depend directly on four targeted fisheries.
Still in its initial phase, the GMC project in Ecuador is designed to support the creation and implementation of two Sustainable Marine Commodity Platforms (SMCP) for small and large pelagic fish. It is within these platforms where key stakeholders, private sector and government representatives will work together towards the development and implementation of a National Action Plan for the targeted fisheries. The GMC project will also promote the institutionalization of these platforms and will support the private sector through the design and implementation of Fishery Improvement Projects.
The GMC Project has also recently helped broker an agreement in which the Ecuadorian fish reduction industry has committed $1.5 million to support the integration of sustainability in the Ecuadorian small pelagic supply chain. This agreement has generated interest from several actors in the global fisheries sector and will produce valuable lessons and a road map on how to build productive public-private partnerships for sustainable fisheries.