Ocean | WWF


Covering 71 percent of the planet’s surface, the ocean sustains life on Earth, producing half our oxygen, absorbing and distributing heat around the planet, and greatly influencing the world’s weather systems.

© Jürgen Freund / WWF

Life began in the oceans. With as many as 100 million species, marine biodiversity far exceeds that on land. The ocean also supports billions of people who rely on it for food security and livelihoods. But marine habitats – especially in coastal areas – are under ever- increasing threats from human activities. Above all, the ocean is threatened by the impacts of climate change, especially acidification and warming. WWF’s Global Goal: The world’s most important fisheries and ocean ecosystems are productive and resilient, and improve livelihoods and biodiversity.

Vietnam is growing fast: the economy averages more than 6% annual increase, population is rising, and already tops 90million, and as people become wealthier, they consume more. Vietnam has been relying on its abundant natural resources to drive its economy and raise living standards.

Most of what is harvested has been done in an unsustainable manner. The impacts of bycatch have been devastating. Populations of nesting marine turtles have declined by as much as 90% in some areas. Overfishing of sharks in longline fisheries targeting tuna has endangered many species.

Why it matters

The tuna fisheries sector is an important industry in Vietnam, with an extensive coastline and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1 million km2. With approximately 2,000 vessels, Vietnam harvests an estimated 17’000 tones worth of oceanic tuna per year for a total export value of nearly USD 370 million:  Vietnam’s yellowfin tuna fisheries is an important player in the rising global demand for tuna.

Crabs and clams fisheries are two other majors economic sources. The annual crab volume harvested is estimated to 7,130 MT (2013). Yet the sustainability of these natural resources has been challenged with over harvesting, including the harvest of undersized crab and gravid females, a lack of sound knowledge on the health of the stock, and lack of enforcement capacity.

© naturepl.com / Tim Martin / WWF-Canon

What is WWF-Vietnam doing

There are very few certified sustainable products being produced in Vietnam, and for those that are, most are immediately exported overseas. There is a need to ensure the products that pose the greatest risk to the environment are produced sustainably, and farmers receive higher economic returns for these products

WWF recognizes the MSC standard as the leading program to ensure wild-caught fisheries are well managed and sustainable. Across the seafood supply chain, WWF is working with retailers, food service companies, manufacturers, and suppliers to responsibly source seafood from fisheries that are MSC certified. By encouraging non-certified fisheries to improve their practices and ultimately meet the MSC’s standard, seafood buyers can increase the number of sustainable fisheries and the overall supply of sustainable seafood in the marketplace.

© WWF-Vietnam

WWF-VN’s strategy to tackle these issues is based on the following approaches:

  1. Better production of key commodities: wild-caught fisheries are responsibly managed through better planning, and complying with international certification schemes (MSC) contributing to social, economic and environmental sustainability

  2. Sustainable supply chains: Sustainable supply chains with increased transparency, and improved performance of companies and the banks are established at sufficient scale on priority commodities,

  3. Policies & frameworks: strengthened investment policies, regulations and better planning are implemented at local, regional and national level to promote sustainable production,

  4. Accelerating domestic demand for certified products: positive progress made to shift the green sourcing, procurement, and local consumption of certified priority commodity products

  5. Influencing financial flows: key financial institutions incentivise, support and demand better industry practices on priority commodities and supply chains.

To achieve its goals, WWF is promoting and supporting several FIP targeting Tuna, crab or clams fisheries.

A fishery improvement project (FIP) draws together fishers, industry, researchers, government and NGOs to help improve fishing practices and management. Through a transparent and comprehensive approach, the FIP will increase a fishery’s level of sustainability and help it meet the requirements of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard.

By supporting FIPs, WWF and its partners are helping conserve marine ecosystems and protecting the livelihoods of the millions of people who depend on them.

Smart Fishing Initiative

With fishing tools becoming more and more effective, fishing activities across the globe are more intensive than ever. To become economically efficient, fishermen often go beyond a level that is environmentally sustainable. Because fish populations can’t recover fast enough however, the sea’s natural resources are becoming depleted.

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Market Transforming Initiative

In the Market Transforming Initiative WWF works on encouraging sustainable fishing by approaching and influencing the global fish industry. The programme focuses on promoting the consumption of seafood products which are responsibly sourced, namely the products which meet the standards of the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) and ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council). WWF also supports fisheries that take part in the FIP /AIP (Fisheries/Aquaculture Improvement Project), in order to be certified with MSC/ASC.

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Yellow fin Tuna

WWF started working initially with the tuna fishery to conserve sea turtles population. Sea turtles are common by catch species in tuna fisheries and their populations have become critically endangered over the past few decades. In order to reduce the impact of fishing on non-target species like turtles, WWF-Vietnam is working with partners to promote the circle hook amongst tuna-fishing communities.

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