The marine environment is a crucial source of economic growth and food security for many regions.  Over the past five years the ISU has brought together stakeholders from all sectors to catalyse action to undertake the transition to sustainably managed fisheries for food security, livelihoods and resilient marine ecosystems.  The ISU has highlighted the importance of the economic drivers behind the current status quo of marine health and in particular is looking to help develop financing mechanisms to reach a sustainable ‘blue economy’.  In addition, the ISU has played a crucial role in the creation of Fishing into the Future, an industry-led initiative that seeks to address some of the challenges facing the UK’s fishing sector in achieving a sustainable and profitable future.  Lastly, the ISU has also undertaken work on issues associated with the international fishmeal and fishoil trade and levels of seabird by-catch in global fisheries.

This will be an important year for the ISU to help position the blue economy and threats to its survival, such as ocean acidification, as central to international agreements on sustainable development and emissions reduction targets.

June 2016: Taking stock of the transition to sustainability meeting

In June of this year, the International Sustainability Unit’s Marine Programme held a meeting to review progress that has been made in the global transition to sustainable fisheries management and to identify and outline solutions to tackle the key challenges that will face the fishing industry over the next five to ten years. Amongst many other things, the meeting highlighted the need to give greater attention to social issues within the fishing industry and to integrate fisheries policy more effectively into broader international priorities such as the Sustainable Development Goals and efforts to address climate change. A report has been put together to summarize the meeting’s discussions as well as the outcomes and recommendations that emerged from it.

The report can be found here.


Tuna fleet in Samoa © Wolcott Henry

Tuna fleet in Samoa © Wolcott Henry

Towards Investment in Sustainable Fisheries: A Framework for Financing the Transition

This document, which has been co-authored by the ISU, the Environmental Defense Fund and the 50in10 collaborative platform, provides a framework for developing and financing fishery transition projects. It is informed by existing work in the field and is intended as a discussion document to stimulate thought and progress towards investment in sustainable fisheries. The report provides an overview of the key factors of which project developers should be aware to attract investment, as well as some of the financial solutions that are readily available to increase projects’ feasibility, bankability and attractiveness to investors.

To access the report, please click here.


Out of the Blue: The Prince of Wales’s Commonwealth Environmental Photography Awards

From June to September 2015, the ISU’s Marine Programme ran a photography competition in partnership with The Royal Commonwealth Society and National Geographic. The competition, called Out of the Blue: The Prince of Wales’s Commonwealth Environmental Photography Awards, was open to all Commonwealth citizens for photographic images taken of the marine environment in Commonwealth countries.

The competition sought to build awareness of the beauty, importance and value of the Oceans around the Commonwealth in advance of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that took place in Malta in November 2015. The winning images from the competition were showcased through a series of exhibitions in Malta in order to highlight how much Commonwealth citizens value their oceans, seas and coasts and appreciate the importance of taking action to protect them. The competition was a great success. A staggering number of photographs of great diversity, both thematically and geographically were submitted to the competition. The exhibition of these images was viewed by delegates to the Heads of Government Meeting and by HRH The Prince of Wales himself, who presented the overall competition winner with her prize at a special prize giving ceremony.

To find out more about the competition and to see the images that were entered please visit The winning images are displayed in the video below: