An important agreement was signed today between WWF-India and the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) to ensure that they work more collaboratively on behalf of the one-by-one skipjack tuna fishery in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, a tropical archipelago in the Laccadive Sea, off the coast of Kerala, India. The overriding aim of this commitment is to use the combined knowledge and expertise of these two non-profit organisations to progress the environmental and social sustainability of this traditional fishery.
WWF-India and IPNLF are confident that if the Lakshadweep fishery is carefully managed and developed diligently, it will be of invaluable benefit to the region’s communities and its overall economy, helping to safeguard the livelihoods of the fishers and communities that it supports.
In signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), WWF-India and IPNLF recognise the benefits to be derived from increased collaboration and cooperation. As such, the agreement defines the framework through which the two parties will work together moving forward to maximise their collective endeavours.
Through the MOU, which is initially effective for a period of three years, the parties have agreed to the following work streams:
- Support activities that will ensure an improved understanding of the fishery and fishing communities in Lakshadweep, and help develop and formulate fishery development policies for the MSC certification of the pole-and-line skipjack tuna fishery
- Develop and improve the fishery catch, data collection, compilation and reporting system to meet the demands of evolving national, regional and international fishery regulatory framework, research and management needs
- Improve the monitoring and management of the livebait fishery through education of the fishermen and improve routine collection of livebait catch data
- Exchange information with regard to activities of mutual interest. The parties will nominate a focal person or persons from within their respective organisations to coordinate this information exchange
Vinod Malayilethu, Senior coordinator, Marine conservation programmes, WWF-India comments, “Because our oceans are under more pressure than ever before, it’s essential that all stakeholders pull together and take necessary action to address sustainability concerns. WWF-India and IPNLF are united in the belief that this MOU is a pivotal step towards ensuring a long-term future for the Lakshadweep tuna fishery, and we look forward to creating meaningful change together.”
Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF, says, “The signing of this MOU is an important milestone for IPNLF and WWF-India, but most crucially for the pole-and-line fishers and communities of Lakshadweep. This agreement is a clear demonstration of the collective desire to build a stronger and more commercially competitive one-by-one sector for this region.”
Purves continues, “It’s also our firm belief that the Lakshadweep pole-and-line commercial sector could benefit greatly from the increased market access that will result from this improvement initiative. It offers a means of capitalising on the unprecedented international consumer demand for sustainably-managed, traceable one-by-one caught tuna.”