Conservation, collaboration and catching coldwater prawns

When a consortium of West Greenland Prawn fishers and Sustainable Fisheries Greenland (SFG), wished to be certified against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fishing sustainability standard, little was known about the seabed and how the fishery affected it. The Greenland fishers approached researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) for what was the start of a fruitful relationship. Since then, the ZSL team used underwater cameras to map the seabed, discovering vulnerable marine ecosystems and species whilst quantifying the impact of fishing on these habitats.

Consequently, fishing gear was adapted to prevent bycatch and damage to the sea bottom, and the fishery worked with the government to designate marine protected areas. This collaboration was not only instrumental to the fishery becoming certified in 2013, but also in supporting necessary improvements to maintain the certificate and continued market benefits of using the MSC ecolabel. This an example of how collaboration with fishers and scientists can produce positive change and MSC can provide the right incentive to set it in motion.

Presenters will engage in storytelling of the Greenland case and other examples of how the MSC programme has incentivised change around the world, using videos, including ZSL’s seabed footage, as well as printouts and objects from the field. Participants will be invited to play ‘tricky trawling’; a ‘flappybird’-esque a game, learning how to avoid sensitive habitats and species. By Ashleigh Arton and Samantha Lees from the Marine Stewardship Council and Kirsty Kemp from ZSL.