Introducing a voluntary assessment scheme enabling transition towards a more sustainable fishery

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


    The Belgian fishing fleet, mainly composed of beam trawlers, has faced numerous challenges in the past decade (high fuel prices, low market prices, additional rules and regulations, outflux of crew…). Consequently the number of fishing enterprises decreased considerably. Due to the nature of the fishery, fishermen could not get MSC certified unless they made drastic adjustments. As a result, all the main stakeholders agreed on the need to assess and monitor the sustainability of the Belgian fishery and to set targets to become a sustainable fishery by 2020.
    This led to the development of a sustainability assessment tool called ‘VALDUVIS’ that was commissioned and supported by these stakeholders (Kinds et al., 2016). The tool would in a first instance be able to measure progress made to reach these goals. A second objective was to render this progress visible and to communicate it to the market. A participatory approach involving fishers and their representatives, government officials, NGOs, fish auctions, distributors, processors, retailers and researchers remained a strong focal point throughout the process. The aim has been to apply a step-by-step approach with progressively increasing thresholds for participation and to gradually convince and prepare fishers to change their current practices. This would enable the entire fleet to evolve in a more sustainable direction that would benefit everyone in the long-term. We explore the participatory process that shaped the tool and its subsequent applications and assess its effectiveness as a new governance framework for the Belgian fishery.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 24-Sept-2018
    EventICES Annual Science Conference - University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
    Duration: 24-Sept-201827-Sept-2018


    ConferenceICES Annual Science Conference
    Abbreviated titleICES ASC
    Internet address


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