Can the market save global fisheries?

A new plan to save the ocean is coming from somewhere surprising: Wall Street. An investment firm thinks they can nurture sustainable fisheries in developing countries and make a buck at the same time. Some are calling it a big deal. Others think they’re naive.

The reality is, fish are in bad shape. The United Nations says about 30 percent of world fish stocks are being harvested at an unsustainable pace. Some researchers think that figure is as high as 45 percent.

Efforts to rebuild fish populations—mostly in the past half-century—have had some successes. But just as often, efforts to manage fish stocks sustainably fail because money and political will dry up, laws aren’t enforced, or fisheries managers are simply overwhelmed by the complexity of an ecosystem.

A firm called Encourage Capital thinks they have an approach that can succeed. The firm’s particular brand of investing is about trying to encourage positive social or environmental changes through targeted capital investments.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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