The Oceana Group’s commitment to sustainable and responsible harvesting of marine resources is as multidisciplinary as it is rigorous: First, it promotes responsible fishing across the supply chain by engaging with international suppliers and promoting awareness amongst all seafaring staff.
Second, it supports an ecosystem approach to fisheries management by engaging with DFFE and industry bodies, funding research and participating in industry workshops.
Third, the group ensures its full legal compliance in the highly regulated operating environment. It has a zero-tolerance approach to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which undermines fish s tocks, negatively impacts food security, and ultimately reduces social and economic opportunities.
While over 90% of the group’s harvested commercial fishing rights are on the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) green list, the West Coast rock lobster (WCRL) fishery remains red-listed due to IUU and, and the pilchard and horse mackerel species remain orange listed.
The group is an active stakeholder in the traceability task-force to enhance the traceability of WCRL and works with DFFE, WWF and the industry to improve policing and managing the resource.
To mitigate its impact on local pilchard yields, the group sources 80% of its supply from pilchard fisheries in Morocco, which has undergone steady improvement since 2014 and is expected to shortly have a full Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) assessment.
Oceana also partners with the Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA) to deliver training conducted by WWF to seagoing employees on responsible fishing practices. The course empowers them to implement an ecosystem approach to fisheries.
So far about 60% of Oceana’s seagoing personnel have undergone RFA training, and the group has retained a facilitator training component to improve access to it. Compliance is rigorously reported and in the last financial year no lapses were encountered.
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) audits the group’s compliance with allocated fishing rights, and Birdlife Africa audits bycatch mitigation measures.