Prince Charles-led initiative hopes to get more people speaking ‘fish and finance’

‘Blue bonds’ on the agenda to get finance into fisheries

The UK’s Prince Charles is heading up an initiative to get more people worldwide speaking fluent ‘fish and finance’ – i.e. with a sufficient understanding of both topics.

One key recommendation from the project is that sustainable fisheries projects could be financed via ‘blue bonds’, a notional instrument taking its cue from green and climate bonds.

His International Sustainability Unit (ISU) held a high-level two-day meeting in London this June to discuss the issue and has just published a summary of the event – and a set of 18 recommendations to boost the global transition to sustainable fisheries.

The report says: “A skills gap within the sector was identified, with very few people worldwide able to speak fluent ‘fish’ and ‘finance’, meaning communication between the sectors did not meet the needs of stakeholders.”

Speaking at the event, the Prince said the unit is committed to making sure that “sustainable fishing, within a healthy and resilient ecosystem, can be increasingly recognized as a good, long-term investment proposition and a critical part of a sustainable blue economy”. Link

The event was attended by Responsible Investor Editor Daniel Brooksbank, who discussed financing sustainable fisheries on an expert panel, describing developments in ESG and the growth of the Principles for Responsible Investment.“Given investor appetite, sustainable fisheries projects at national, sub-national or regional level should be put forward for financing through Blue Bonds, adding to the already growing climate or green bond markets,” is Recommendation 16 in the report – though there is little further discussion about how this could occur.

The idea of blue bonds has been around for a while. At an earlier event two years ago then European fisheries chief Maria Damanaki put her weight behind the idea.

Damanaki – now Global Managing Director for Oceans at the Nature Conservancy – was one of the senior figures at the latest event.

Another key recommendation is that improvements in fisheries governance are “crucial tools in helping to mitigate perceived risk in sustainable fisheries investments: making the sector more appealing to potential investors”.

The report says there needs to greater collaboration between the ‘green’ terrestrial sustainability sector and the ‘blue’ fisheries area.

It comes as just this week the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported that it will soon be possible to track commercial fishing trawlers all over the world in a bid to track illegal fishing. It said that conservation ogranisation Oceana is teaming up with Google and SkyTruth, a nonprofit group that uses aerial and satellite images, to launch the Global Fishing Tracker shortly.