But an infusion of capital may be exactly what some of those fisheries need to take the next step in improving both sustainability and the livelihoods of local fishermen.
The Meloy Fund for Sustainable Community Fisheries, an impact investment fund affiliated with the conservation group Rare, is seeking to set off a wave of investment in coastal fisheries in Southeast Asia, where it believes impact capital can do the greatest good for both fishermen and nature. The hope is that banks, venture capital, and private equity will eventually join in.
"We had to take on a little risk to be first, and certainly our investors did the same," Meloy Fund Managing Partner Dale Galvin told SeafoodSource. "It's a risky sector. It has a lot of seasonality to it and it's poorly understood, especially when it comes to the product.”
Earlier this month, the Meloy Fund announced an investment in Indonesian tuna processor and exporter PT SIG. The investment is meant to spur PT SIG, which sources yellowfin tuna from artisanal fishermen and exports it globally, to make direct improvements in its traceability system, a transparent pricing scheme for fishermen, and a responsible sourcing policy.
“At PT SIG Asia, we take pride in our products and our strong relationships with our customers and the local fishing community," PT SIG Asia Founder and CEO Daniel Loy said in a statement. "This partnership with the Meloy Fund gives us an opportunity to expand our company, implement value-generating environmental, social, and governance-compliant practices, and expand our leadership in the sustainable seafood industry in our region.”
The Meloy Fund chooses investments that will both improve livelihoods and protect natural resources. It targets the Philippines and Indonesia, where there are 4.3 million small-scale fishers harvesting 2.7 million tons of fish — an untapped value of USD 4 billion (EUR 3.7 billion).
The fund targets businesses too large for microfinance but too small for private equity, supporting growth-stage enterprises. It seeks to invest between USD 1 million (EUR 930,000) and USD 5 million (EUR 4.6 million) in debt or equity.
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