Making Kerala’s deep-sea shrimp fishing sustainable

WWF-India and deep-sea shrimp trawl fishery Kerala

Amount awarded: £44,310

This project is supporting a fishery improvement project (FIP) for the deep-sea shrimp fishery in Kerala, India. WWF-India in collaboration with a number of partners in the region, aims to help the fishery  towards MSC certification by 2025.  

The fishery targets Arabian red shrimp, deep- sea shrimp and Indian nylon shrimp using trawl gear. The fishery operates off Kerala’s coast mainly in Kollam Bank where around 80% of Kerala’s deep-sea shrimp are caught. 

Most of the catch is exported to the EU and US. Alongside sustainability, market access has been a driving force for the fishery to seek certification. 

In 2019, the Seafood Exporters Association of India and the Forum for Deep-sea Shrimp Sustainability developed an action plan and initiated an MSC pre-assessment.  

This showed that the fishery does not have in place important management systems, known as harvest strategies or harvest control rules, to show that its practices are sustainable. This is due to a lack of research helping the fishery managers understand the stock status of the shrimp.  

WWF-India will work with industry, government, fishers and NGO stakeholders to undertake a stock assessment. This will help to understand if the shrimp are at healthy levels and determine a reference point for sustainable fishing so that harvest control rules can be agreed. 

Their Ocean Stewardship Fund grant will also help the fishery meet other requirements for certification. These include reducing bycatch and assessing its impact on the local habitat and ecosystem., 

The fishery is verified through the In-Transition to MSC Program, making it eligible for Transition Assistance Funding.

As most fisheries resources are overexploited in India, bringing sustainability is the only way by which the resources can be conserved and protected for future generations. This funding will help enable us to implement the fishery improvement project activities for these species of shrimp which are of great commercial importance

Vinod Malayilethu WWF India

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