John West in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has launched two new conservation projects to help communities within the Pacific Islands and the Maldives protect reef ecosystems, and promote sustainable fishing methods.
The projects are part of John West’s commitment to a responsible seafood supply chain by 2015, and will see the company invest $600,000 over a three year period under its John West Conservation Program.
In partnership with WWF, John West will be contributing to the Pacific Islands Conservation Project which is designed to support community based fishing and mirco-financed projects in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. The overall goal of the project will be to protect over-exploited reef ecosystems, creating food security, boosting local economies and providing greater business opportunities for women.
The project will also receive some additional support from AusAid, who together with John West and WWF will be working with local communities to build and deploy small fishing rafts that are anchored to the seafloor close to shore. These rafts will attract non-reef species of fish and provide relief to overfished reef areas.
The second project – The Maldives Conservation Project with see both John West and WWF incorporate the development of a new tuna stock assessment modelling system for a leading pole and line Kipjak tuna fishery in The Maldives. The goal of this particular project is to increase the availability of responsibly sourced tuna and renew the fishery’s Marine Stewarship Council certification.
“Taking a cue from our sustainability commitment Our Oceans Forever, these exciting new projects are all about working closely with our partners, communities and suppliers to safeguard our oceans by contuinually improving fishing practices, now and for generations to come,” said John West’s group marketing manager, Stuart Sterling.
Dermot O’Gorman, WWF chief executive officer said that the projects marked an important step forward towards sustainable fishing.
“The small floating rafts create a win-win situation. Local communities get a new source of fish and income while the over-fished reefs get a chance to replenish,” said O’Gorman.
“In the Maldives it’s crucial we support a fishery using a more sustainable method that reduces by-catch.
“The world’s oceans are not an inexhaustible source of food. We’re working with companies like John West to transform the market and create demand for products that contribute to the long term health of our oceans.”