Fishery Improvement Project (FIP)- Mahi-Mahi Fishery in Ecuador

Ecuador is a global leader in mahi production and supplies the U.S. with aproximately 26% of its imported mahi. A 2009 MSC pre-assessment of the country's mahi fisheries identified areas for improvement, including:

  • Uncertainty stock status
  • Lack of formal harvest strategy
  • Lack of bycatch data
  • Lack of effective management

In February, 2011, the National Action Plan for the Conservation and Management of the Mahi Mahi Fishery was adopted in Ecuador.

In September 2014, Sea Delight, LLC’s, provided $5,000 to support the World Wildlife Fund Mahi Mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) International Technical Workshop, which took place October 14-16, 2014, in Manta, Ecuador.

In October, 2014- Sea Delight, LLC and the Sea Delight Ocean Fund, signed an MOU with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US) to support the Ecuador and Peru mahi mahi fishery improvement projects (FIPs), which aim to guide the longline mahi mahi industry on a path towards sustainability and ultimately Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. In March 2016, this MOU was renewed to bring Sea Delight’s FIP involvement with WWF in Peru, Ecuador, and Vietnam into alignment and it has been renewed ever since.

Updated information on this FIP progress is now available in profile Ecuador mahi-mahi - longline

Project Highlights include:

  • The second bi-national workshop between Ecuador and Peru took place on September 8-10, 2015 in Piura, Peru and the second international mahi-mahi scientific workshop was held on October 27-29, 2015 in Lima, Peru.
  • Between August and September 2015 VMAP/SRP (Vice Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries Sub-Secretary of Fisheries Resources) authorities hired 70 additional fisheries officers to monitor and control landings along the Ecuadorian coastline.
  • WWF donated 9,000 additional circle hooks (C15) to continue the circle hook exchange program with artisanal fishing communities in Esmeraldas (northern Ecuador) during 2016.
  • The SRP continued to implement its communication/education strategy to ensure fishermen understand the fishing regulations and abide by them.
  • The Ecuadorian fisheries authorities and IATTC scientists met with representatives of the Peruvian Ministry of Production (PRODUCE) to discuss management of mahi-mahi in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) and the development of a stock assessment for mahi-mahi being led by the IATTC.
  • IATTC scientists conducted the first ever preliminary regional stock assessment for mahi-mahi in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) in May 2016 as well as a Management Strategy Evaluation report for mahi-mahi to recommend different management strategies that the EPO countries can take for their mahimahi fisheries.

A marina in Ecuador

The Sea Delight Ocean Fund supports these efforts by:

  • Helping Sea Delight engage their supplier in supporting these initiatives as well as maintaining communication with program leaders in how the industry can best support this project
  • Work towards developing a traceable supply chain of responsibly caught Mahi from vessels and fishers that have taken part in the training on best practices and are using circle hooks to reduce the harmful effects of marine turtle bycatch
  • Implementing a billback program with Sea Delight's suppliers to develop a funding model and strategy to reward the efforts of fishers, vessel owners, consumers, exporters and importers prepared to work towards a more responsible fishery, and motivate others across the supply chain to do the same