World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

Fishers haul up nets of fish

Global Fisheries Improvement Fund Supports First Project in Chile with Industry and Philanthropy Contribution

  • Date: 23 April 2024

Last year, World Wildlife Fund and Finance Earth announced a new, innovative financing mechanism aimed at transitioning fisheries towards improved fishing practices and management – the Fisheries Improvement Fund (FIF).

Now, WWF and Finance Earth, in collaboration with key industry partners and philanthropy, have made an exciting announcement regarding the launch of a groundbreaking Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) in Chile. The FIP in Chile will be the first to be funded through the Fisheries Improvement Fund, which aims to catalyze over $100 million into fisheries improvement by 2030.

The FIP in Chile will focus on the transition to more sustainable marine ingredients in the anchoveta and araucanian herring (common sardine) fishery in Chile’s Central-Southern Region. The selected area, known for its ecological significance, is one of the world's most productive and critical fisheries.

By focusing on the transition to more sustainable practices in this region, this first project aims to set an example for other fisheries facing similar challenges globally and will create a replicable and scalable model for funding future fisheries improvements.

“Fish bring balance to ecosystems and feed billions. To keep communities and ecosystems thriving, we need innovative solutions, like the Fisheries Improvement Fund, to scale global fisheries improvements toward nature-positive outcomes for healthier marine ecosystems, thriving fishing communities, and a sustainable blue economy,” said Johan Bergenas, Senior Vice President of Oceans, WWF US.

A Collaborative Effort for Healthier Oceans

Finance Earth—a renowned impact investment advisor and fund manager known for its breakthrough models that prioritize social and environmental objectives—is managing the Fisheries Improvement Fund and working closely with WWF to implement this pilot project.

Leading feed companies, Cargill and Skretting, have actively participated in the development of the

Fund’s concept and are pivotal financial supporters of the fund and the project in Chile. Additionally, leading pet food manufacturer Mars Incorporated, along with major seafood buyers Costco Wholesale, Sodexo, Giant Eagle, and philanthropic foundation Walmart Foundation, have provided funding and support for the launch of the Fund and this initial project in Chile.

A Novel Financing Model for More Sustainable Fisheries

This new funding model aims to address the long-standing challenge of securing significant and reliable funding for fisheries improvement. By tackling issues such as inconsistent funding, lack of transparency and standardization, high transaction costs, and limited private sector participation, the FIF introduces an innovative financial mechanism that streamlines the funding process and encourages private sector engagement.

Teresa Ish, Oceans Initiative Lead and Senior Program Officer, Environment Program for Walton Family Foundation–who provided the initial investment as an anchor investment for the Fisheries Improvement Fund–emphasizes the importance of creative ideas and new partnerships in protecting our ocean resources, people, and communities.

“The FIF marks a step-change in the way fisheries improvement is funded globally. The model is designed in a way that will free up funding from philanthropy to support issues in fisheries that aren’t best addressed by supply chains. By investing in this work, we can make a difference in a rapidly changing world.”

Teresa Ish
Oceans Initiative Lead and Senior Program Officer, Environment Program for Walton Family Foundation

Participating companies will generate a long-term revenue stream primarily through a volume-based fee, enabling the financing mechanism to cover upfront costs for the FIPs. This funding model with participating organizations each using their unique catalytic strengths ensures that these efforts to improve sustainability are more comprehensively funded, recognized as a cost of doing business, and embedded into product costs. The model has potential for replication and scaling in both fisheries and other commodities and sectors.

“The FIF provides much needed innovation to the funding model of Fishery Improvement Projects. Mars is excited to be a part of this innovation and the implementation of FIPs globally, starting with the Multi-species FIP in Chile. The collaboration of stakeholders in the region promises to bring about improvements to the environmental and social aspects of this fishery.”

Andrew Russell
Global Lead Fish Sustainability at Mars Petcare

Protecting a Critical Fishery in Chile

The pioneering multi-species FIP in Chile will secure the natural capital that underpins the massive fishery in the South American nation. This fishery plays a crucial role in the production of feed for aquaculture, supporting both regional and global salmon production. With fisheries and aquaculture playing such a vital role in the economy and livelihoods of over 300,000 people in Chile, this project is a significant step towards a more sustainable future for coastal fishing communities that heavily rely on small pelagic fish for their livelihoods.

“We are excited to be launching this first project with WWF Chile, prominent feed and buyer companies, and philanthropic foundations, which will provide finance for fisheries improvements in the region. This approach has the potential to attract a range of investors from the public and private sectors, and we are eager to demonstrate its viability through this pilot. This is an opportunity for us to protect our oceans and invest in a sustainable blue economy.”

Elizabeth Beall
Managing Director at Finance Earth

Accelerating a Wave of Positive Change

By engaging stakeholders across the industry, from large seafood buyers to philanthropic foundations, the Fisheries Improvement Fund has the potential to transform the fishing industry and ensure a more sustainable future for our oceans.

Tracy Murai, Assistant Director, Global Fisheries and Marine at Thai Union Group, expressed excitement about the launch of the Fisheries Improvement Fund FIF, emphasizing its crucial role in supporting fisheries to increase sustainability. Thai Union has been actively engaged in discussions about the FIF from the very beginning and has been a leading company in supporting Fishery Improvement Projects FIPs on

“We are thrilled to see the creation of a new funding mechanism that allows more companies and funders to get involved, supporting the journey towards sustainable fisheries and accelerating a wave of positive change.”

Tracy Murai
Assistant Director, Global Fisheries and Marine at Thai Union Group

Finance Earth is actively seeking proposals from fisheries worldwide that are interested in securing funding through the Fisheries Improvement Fund, an initiative that presents a unique opportunity to protect our oceans and invest in a sustainable future for the entire fishing industry.

Opportunities can be brought forward by any relevant stakeholder(s): including NGOs, local fishing groups, industry actors, off-take/trading companies, buyers/retailers, and local/national governments. The FIF can support both industrial and artisanal, small-scale fisheries, and is open to fisheries currently in a FIP or not yet in a FIP. Please visit our website to learn more and submit a fishery for consideration.


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