UNDP Sustainable Fisheries Challenge


You’ve probably watched the Netflix film ‘Seaspiracy’ in the last few weeks, and if you haven’t, then you’ve almost certainly heard about it! For all the shows failings both in terms of scientific integrity and objectivity, the sensational narrative got people talking about issues surrounding the ocean and fisheries in a way that has never previously been achieved. However, despite Seaspiracy’s anti-fishing stance, it is important to remember that sustainable use of the global ocean is very possible and socio-economically crucial for many fishery-dependent communities around the globe.

Read on to discover howyou could be central to improving the lives of millions of people around the world and innovating the field of fisheries science.

The ocean is perhaps one of the most wildly underappreciated natural resources on the planet which supports the livelihoods of more than 3 billion people worldwide. Fisheries alone provide approximately 260 million jobs to the global economy, with approximately 97% of the world’s fisherfolk based within developing countries. Despite being almost entirely reliant upon marine production for daily protein intake, many developing countries lack the fisheries and political infrastructures required to access global seafood markets. This typically amplifies the overexploitation of inshore fisheries resources and threatens the economic and resource security of local fishery-dependant coastal communities .

Globally, food fish consumption has increased at an annual rate of approximately 3.1% over the past 60 years, with exponentially increasing resource demands threatening the long term ecological sustainability of many socio-economically crucial fisheries. Recent reports indicate that 35% of global fish stocks are over exploited, with illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing practices thought to extract up to 25 million tonnes of fish from the ocean annually. Commercial fisheries management has historically been undermined by a lack of monitoring and enforcement capacity which has made implementing existing multilateral fisheries agreements a challenge. Innovation within the field of fisheries science is now urgently required to facilitate the sustainable and equitable use of ocean resources whilst balancing both conservation and economic developmental objectives.

The Ocean Innovation Challenge is seeking solutions which facilitate the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 through achieving one or more of the following targets:

By 2020, end both overfishing and IUU fishing practices, and develop science-based management plans.

By 2030, increase economic benefits to fishery-dependant developing nations from the sustainable use of marine resources.

Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to global marine resources and markets.

This is a request for proposals, with selected solvers able to receive up to $250,000 USD to complete their respective projects within a maximum time frame of 2 years. Proposals should focus upon ensuring gender equity, livelihoods of the poor, and poverty alleviation, with solvers welcomed from a diversity of sectors including governments, private companies, NGOs, academic institutions, UN entities, and intergovernmental organisations.

The potential scope of your solution is truly endless, with a variety of innovations accepted ranging from improved vessel monitoring and bycatch reduction systems to mechanisms which promote sustainable fisheries supply chains and enhance small-scale fisherfolk access to global seafood markets.

Click the link below for more challenge details and catalyse real change today!