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Responsible Fisheries Alliance renews its commitment for five years

The Responsible Fisheries Alliance (RFA) is a group of like-minded organisations working together to underpin healthy marine ecosystems in southern Africa.

The RFA strives to provide a forum for environmental NGOs and responsible fishing companies to work together towards responsible and sustainable fisheries.  

Formed in 2009, the alliance members continue to contribute resources and time towards the sharing of information, expertise and competencies to positively effect responsible fishing while influencing policy and fishery governance.

After two years of revamping and restructuring the RFA, members have now signed a new five-year agreement as a commitment to working together towards responsible fishing practices.

The new vision of RFA is to increase its impact, to be more inclusive and representative of all fisheries within South Africa and to:
  • Position itself as the leading forum for sustainability in the fisheries sector
  • Be a grouping of brands and organisations committed to sustainability
  • Be a platform for innovation and cutting-edge solutions in line with international best practice
  • Focus on implementation of solutions at scale
The RFA has also expanded its membership to six, and now includes the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). SANCCOB is an NGO that that has been saving seabirds since 1968 and their participation will bring much-needed expertise to address the decline of several bird species, especially the endangered African penguin.

Other members of the alliance are WWF South Africa, Birdlife South Africa, Oceana, Sea Harvest and I&J.
Among the RFA’s achievements over the past 13 years have been to:
  • Improve management of by-catch species and the introduction of tori lines to mitigate bird mortalities (>90% reduction);
  • Ensure that 30 vessels have by-catch and seabird mitigation plans;
  • Train over 1600 skippers and crew;
  • And foster improved collaboration within the fishing sector in addressing key issues such as seabed mining and declining African penguin populations.
The RFA continuously strives to create a platform for innovative and practical solutions to fisheries sustainability challenges. Additionally, the RFA aims to work collaboratively to reduce the footprint of fisheries on the marine environment thereby ensuring marine resources are available for future generations.

Craig Smith, chair of the RFA, commented: “Fisheries remains the greatest threat to marine biodiversity loss, but this threat is not insurmountable. The RFA provides an exciting and collaborative platform between fishing companies and NGOs to explore innovative approaches and ways to scale solutions to mitigate the threat of fisheries on marine biodiversity.”    
© Peter Chadwick WWF South Africa
A hake trawler with deployed tori lines to scare seabirds.

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