- Community Feature
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A Q&A with SALT's small grant recipient: Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community DevelopmentJuly 24, 2020
Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development makes waves towards seafood traceability
Meet one of SALT’s small grant recipients, Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (MCD)! SALT recently initiated a small grants program to catalyze work towards SALT’s objectives and expand our learning opportunities in the field of electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT). This program supports international projects that address the challenges of implementing eCDT around the world. MCD works in Vietnam to promote cooperation between stakeholders and implement initiatives that integrate local knowledge and international sustainability goals. We checked in with their team to hear a bit more about their exciting traceability work.
SALT: Can you tell us about your organization?
MCD: MCD is a leading Vietnamese non-governmental organization (NGO) in the field of coastal and marine ecosystem conservation. The goal of our work is to contribute to management of coastal ecosystems in order to improve coastal communities’ living conditions. We understand that there is an interdependence between coastal communities and marine ecosystems, especially in fisheries. Electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) is a new area of work that MCD has recently engaged with through the USAID Ocean project. We found it very interesting and timely to fisheries management improvements in Vietnam. We would like to see this work help demonstrate Vietnam’s commitment to fighting against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, improve fisheries sustainability, and ultimately lift the EU’s yellow card decision.
SALT: Who is involved in the project with SALT?
MCD: We see the strength of teamwork. Thus, our team shall provide our collective strength to the SALT small grant project. Key personnel from MCD will work on the eCDT project, including executives and program officers as well as staff from the communications, administrative, and finance teams. The MCD team will be meeting with key stakeholders such as fishers and government officers.
SALT: What kind of activities will you be doing with SALT’s small grant support?
MCD: We are going to be very busy engaging stakeholders! First, we plan to summarize the experiences of our past eCDT pilot in Binh Dinh province as well as experiences from other eCDT pilots. From these conversations, we will compile lessons learned to uncover what has worked and what needs to be improved for fishers and the government to effectively implement traceability. We will then identify gaps in the existing eCDT technical guidelines and roadmap for Vietnam, recommending improvements. Based on our findings, we will facilitate a second eCDT pilot and host a national, multi-stakeholder workshop to discuss updated guidelines for the roadmap.
The roadmap outlines steps that will assist Vietnam in preparing for the transition away from paper-based data collection. The roadmap documents progress made thus far in advancing eCDT and suggests next steps for further implementation and expansion. Updating the roadmap is a key feature of MCD’s project that will lay out a pathway for policy application, informed by relevant stakeholders and aligning with the government’s action plan to combat IUU fishing.
SALT: What are some challenges you may expect with this work?
MCD: The progression of COVID-19 has affected our seafood market and fishing activities. The pandemic reduced the sales of tuna, and 30% of vessels did not go fishing in May 2020. If the demand from our international markets (EU, US, Japan) continues to shrink, fishers may have less motivation to go fishing, which will affect the implementation of eCDT.
SALT: What do you plan to achieve and how will it benefit seafood traceability efforts?
MCD: We would like to begin implementation of the National eCDT Guidelines and Roadmap in Vietnam. As a seafood producing country, Vietnam can contribute greatly to traceability efforts if the eCDT guidelines and roadmap are implemented effectively. Additionally, SALT’s community will then have one more case study from Vietnam, facilitated by a NGO with close relationships to regional and governmental stakeholders.
MCD’s project demonstrates a path forward for other seafood producing countries and strengthens the global effort against IUU fishing. SALT is looking forward to seeing the progress of the eCDT guidelines in Vietnam led by the MCD. Stay tuned for more updates from MCD!