The Global Roundtable on Marine Ingredients is releasing a human rights impact assessment (HRIA) that it commissioned to Partner Africa in May 2022 and was conducted in Senegal and Mauritania (July and September 2022, January 2023).
With Partner Africa’s HRIA, the Global Roundtable aimed to better understand the situation on the ground and link the impacts in the small pelagic fish value chain in Senegal and Mauritania with the United Nations’ business and human rights framework. Ultimately, the Global Roundtable wants to catalyze positive action in those two countries.
“This study underlines the gap between the current practices in Senegal and Mauritania and the fishmeal and fish oil industry’s global standards. In Mauritania and Senegal, where fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) production represents respectively 1.12% and 0.22% of global output (IFFO, 2021), the Global Roundtable wants to be part of the solution to issues raised by local communities. To achieve this, collaboration between governments and private actors must be strengthened, based on a clear understanding of everyone’s responsibilities,” said Árni Mathiesen, independent chair of the Global Roundtable.
“As a first next step, the Global Roundtable is working with the FAO and others to convene a workshop on Sub-Saharan Africa. Guided by a 2022 FAO report and the findings and recommendations in the HRIA, the workshop will discuss solutions to a range of issues. The workshop is intended to gather regional stakeholders including many identified in the HRIA. The Global Roundtable is now working on adding a second phase to the study, focusing on the impacts of fishing by foreign companies and the associated trade flows”.
Overall, the HRIA identified a number of actual and potential human rights impacts associated with small pelagic fisheries in Mauritania and Senegal, including the rights to a healthy environment, an adequate standard of living and labor rights. These impacts apply to different rights holders in different ways and were found at a range of scales including artisanal and industrial fisheries and various steps in supply chains. In Mauritania and Senegal, the report found that small-scale fishers and supply chains have been displaced and food security undermined by the growth of the FMFO sector.
Most importantly, the HRIA highlighted that a responsible small pelagics industry has much potential to positively impact the human rights of the local population: bringing stability to the fisheries in this region can support economic growth and provide stable employment to local populations in a place where it is sorely needed.
The Global Roundtable expressed its support for the ongoing efforts by the Mauritanian authorities to implement a new small pelagics fishery management plan, to prioritize fisheries for human consumption, improve fish handling and processing capacity and practices, and advance responsible and regional management of small pelagic stocks. The Global Roundtable seeks to support these efforts by working with members, local and international stakeholders and institutions to support improvements in fisheries management and regional supply chains.
The roundtable encouraged local authorities to take and enforce further action supporting the upgrading of environmental and social practices within the factories. It also called on all companies sourcing FMFO from Mauritania to join the Mauritania Fishery Improvement Project for small pelagics (FIP), get their suppliers to join; engage with the MarinTrust Improver Programme or the MSC In-Transition to MSC Programme, and with the Global Roundtable on Marine Ingredients.
Finally, the Global Roundtable encourages each stakeholder involved in the value chain to take responsibility and use their leverage, so the main salient impacts are addressed.
Download the HRIA report here.
Launched in 2021, the Global Roundtable on Marine Ingredients is a sector-wide, multi-stakeholder initiative working to drive environmental and social improvements in key fisheries globally.