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Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund

The Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund (GFSF) supports scientific research and projects in fisheries worldwide. The MSC launched the fund in July 2015 with an initial allocation of £400,000, split over two years.

What we fund

GFSF funds research that will strengthen knowledge and capacity to assist small scale and developing world fisheries on their journey to achieving MSC certification. 

The MSC invites applications that will have benefits beyond a single fishery and will:

  • Deliver critical scientific research that addresses information, technology and management gaps and barriers encountered by fisheries on their way to meeting the MSC Standard.
  • Build the capacity of personnel to assist small scale and Developing World fisheries in their improvements and in gaining certification.
  • Support direct environmental, information and management improvements in Developing World and small scale fisheries.
  • Assist fisheries applying the MSC Bench Marking Tool and other fishery improvement tools.


Who can apply?

The fund is open to academic institutions, independent researchers, fisheries, governments and non-governmental organisations. The MSC actively seeks additional, third party contributions to enhance the overall scale of the fund and potential grants available to applicants.

WWF in the Coral Triangle is committed to working with the MSC to make the program more accessible to fisheries in the developing world. With this funding from the MSC, we are excited to be able to build in-country expertise to deliver cost-effective and robustly designed fishery improvement projects to achieve that goal.

Geoffrey Muldoon, Senior Manager WWF’s Coral Triangle

How to apply

Applications for 2017 round of funding are now closed. 

Please email with any queries or to be notified when the 2018 fund opens for applications.


Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund Awardees

The MSC Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund (GFSF) supports critical fishery science research and projects. 


The 2017 recipients

China Aquatic Product Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA)

Fishery: Crayfish, Yangtze River

Overview: China produces two thirds of crayfish globally. China Aquatic Product Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA) and partners including IKEA will be working with crayfish fisheries in the Jiangsu and Hubei provinces and the Yangtze River ecosystem on a pilot project to engage small scale fisheries with the MSC program and bring sustainable crayfish to a global market.

He Cui, President of CAPPMA said: “CAPPMA, as the national fishery association of China, will work with local stakeholders to promote the crayfish industry towards sustainable development, to improve fishing practices of the typical small-scale, crayfish fishery in China, and to demonstrate the harmonisation of livelihood, ecological and social effects for small scale fisheries, with support from this award IKEA and the MSC China office.”

ECOS Research Center and the Anchud Mudcrab Productivity Committee

Fishery: Stone crab, Chile 

Project overview: Chile has a large and diverse artisanal fishing sector, operating on approximately 141 species. ECOS Research Center and the Ancud Crab Productivity Committee have been awarded GFSF funding for the second time and will design and implement a sustainability improvement action plan for the stone crab artisanal fishery in Los Lagos, Chile. This pilot project will provide a framework for other Chilean artisanal fisheries to work towards sustainability and MSC certification.

Miguel Espíndola from the ECOS Research Centre said: “We hope that, with the development of this project, we will be able to create a network of support to work systematically in the improvement of the fishery, so that it can be recognised worldwide as sustainable. Moreover, we hope that these efforts will improve the commercial choices of the artisanal fishermen involved.”

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)

Fishery: Baitfish, Indonesia 

Project overview: Indonesia is the world’s largest tuna fishing nation. Cefas, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, will be working with partners including the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) to build fisheries science capacity and carry out stock assessments on Indonesia's small pelagic fisheries, which provide baitfish for the region’s pole-and-line tuna fisheries.

Piera Carpi, Cefas said: “Sustainability, awareness and knowledge transfer will be the key goals of this project: a unique opportunity to help the local fisheries to enhance the quality of their product, to ensure sustainable exploitation of their small pelagic stocks and to help the scientific community to develop a long term program for the management of their marine resources.”


Fishery: Baitfish and tuna, Lakshadweep

Project overview: Although India’s seafood exports are at a record high, there is only one MSC certified fishery in the region. WWF-India will create fishery management and actions plans to ensure the sustainability of both baitfish and tuna fisheries in Lakshadweep, India, a region which depends on fishing for income and as a food source.

Vinod Malayilethu, WWF-India said: “Pole and Line Skipjack tuna fishing is one of the few sustainable fishing practices in the North Western India Ocean and is a major source of livelihood for fishers in the Lakshadweep islands. I am very excited to receive the funds from the MSC as it will greatly help in addressing the gaps identified during the MSC pre-assessment process and help the fishery to become MSC certified in the future.”

Network on Fisheries Policies in West African (REPAO)

Fishery: Octopus, Senegal 

Project overview: Senegal has spent many years improving the sustainability and management of its octopus fisheries. The Network on Fisheries Policies in West Africa (REPAO), in partnership with the Directorate of Marine Fisheries, will build upon the sustainable management achievements of the artisanal and industrial octopus fisheries in Senegal, to carry out pre-assessments and develop actions plans towards MSC certification.

Papa Gora from REPAO said: “We felt joy and excitement when the MSC notified us of the choice of our proposal to benefit from this GFSF grant. It is now exactly ten years since we started work towards the certification of artisanal fisheries products! This is an important challenge as we perceive that non-sustainable fishery products will have a very limited market share in the years to come. Certification without artisanal fisheries products would threaten market access for fishery products originating from developing countries, notably Senegal. Obtaining this funding for the octopus fishery in Senegal is a great opportunity for us to make possible the eligibility of this product for MSC certification.”

The 2016 recipients

Blue Ventures

Fishery: Madagascar octopus fishery

Project: Implementation of fishery improvement project (FIP) activities

Project overview: Southwest Madagascar is one of the poorest regions of the country.  Communities in coastal regions have few economic alternatives to fishing. Octopus fishing is an economic lifeline of around 80,000 small-scale fishers, over half of whom are women.

Madagascar’s fishing economy is critical for the livelihoods and food security for over 250,000 people. Blue Ventures works in places where the ocean is vital to local cultures and economies, and are committed to protecting marine biodiversity in ways that benefit coastal people. The organisation will use its grant from the MSC’s Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund (GFSF) to implement FIP activities in the octopus fishery, and explore the application of data limited assessment and management methods.

WWF Coral Triangle Program

Fishery: Indonesia, Vietnam crab and clam fisheries; mixed gears

Project: Capacity building training program, developing FIP scoping/action plan

Project overview: Seafood products harvested from commercial fisheries are consumed all over the globe, providing the world’s prime source of quality proteins. Developing world fisheries continue to be an important source of seafood for markets across the world.

Although these fisheries are vital to food security and economic development, many are not managed sustainably. Data deficiency, lack of management structures and a lack of resources means that most developing world fisheries need to improve significantly to meet international sustainability criteria and benefit from the growing market for sustainable seafood. A key constraint to amplifying fishery improvement efforts in these fisheries remains the cost of developing FIPs benchmarked against the MSC Standard.

The WWF Coral Triangle Program will use its grant for a capacity building programme to train in-country experts so they can carry out FIP assessments and MSC pre-assessments in Vietnam and Indonesia more cost-effectively while maintaining quality in FIP processes.

Anchud Mudcrab Productivity Committee

Fishery: Chilean mud crab artisanal fishery

Project overview: MSC pre-assessment and training.

This project will use the GFSF grant to gain understanding into the likely barriers to certification of this Chilean artisanal fishery. It aims to build awareness of MSC requirements among stakeholders and undertake a pre-assessment of the fishery.

WWF Japan

Fishery: Manila clam, China 

Project: FIP implementation of Manilla clam fishery in the Yellow Sea Ecoregion

Project overview: One of WWF Japan’s focal projects is conserving the Yellow Sea Ecoregion (YSE), surrounded by China and the Korean Peninsula.

Local people in China, Korea and Japan highly depend on seafood from the YSE. In China, bivavles targeted by coastal in the YSE are a staple for local people. Manila clam, in particular, sustains the lives of a large number of people living not only in China but also in neighbouring countries. Thus it is a key contributor to regional food security.

WWF Japan will use its share of the grant to implement a FIP for the enhanced Manila clam fishery in the YSE, which could lead to major environmental benefits in the globally important mudflats as well as sustainable Manila clam production and consumption.

Masyarakat Dan Perikanan Indonesia Foundation

Fishery: Indonesia tuna fisheries

Project: Risk assessment of tuna supply chains in Indonesia.

Project overview: Indonesia is one of the leading producers of wild capture fish and is the biggest tuna-producing country in the world. Yet, like in many developing world fisheries the country has challenges in trying to move its fishing sector to become more sustainable. As a big tuna exporter, Indonesia’s tuna supply chains need to improve in order to be considered sustainable and transparent.

Masyarakat Dan Perikanan Indonesia Foundation (MDPI) was founded in July 2013 with a focus on small-scale artisanal fisheries. They support fishing communities and fisheries supply chains to move towards sustainability.

MDPI, together with its partners Asosiasi Pole and Line dan Handline Indonesia (AP2HI), UNIDO Indonesia and the International Pole and Line Foundation, will use funding from the GFSF to prepare a risk assessment of small scale tuna supply chains in Eastern Indonesia, aiming to gather much-needed information and recommendations on how to achieve compliant Chain of Custody approaches within that sector and in the region.

WWF Guianas

Fishery: Suriname coastal artisanal fishery; multi species, multi gear

Project: Involving fishermen in a rapid and conceivable assessment of fish stocks: LB-SPR models applied to small-scale artisanal fisheries in Suriname

Project overview: Suriname is located in the north-eastern part of South America, facing the Atlantic in the North and bordering Brazil in the south. It is part of the Guianas, with Guyana on its western border and French-Guiana on the east. Most of the country is covered by tropical rainforest, harbouring a great diversity of flora and fauna.

Fishing is an important economic activity in Suriname. The Surinamese fishing sector is estimated to directly employ nearly 10,000 people and generate some 40, 000 tonnes of wild captured fish and shrimp annually. The artisanal fleet is the most important fishing sector in Suriname, accounting for 60 to 70% of the landings, generating most of the employment and delivering fresh fish to the local market.

There are many signs that the coastal artisanal fishing fleet in Suriname is overfishing target species, yet there is no scientific data on the stock status of the exploited species.
WWF Guianas will therefore use its grant award to apply data limited assessment and anagement methodologies to the Suriname coastal artisanal fishery, and will contribute to the MSC’s wider initiative that will allow data limited fisheries to demonstrate that they meet the MSC's sustainability requirements.




Why get your fishery MSC certified? 
Fishery certification guide
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