The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program Private Sector Window, is lending $10 million to National Fisheries Developments, Ltd. (NFD), to support sustainable tuna production and employment in Solomon Islands.
This loan is IFC’s second investment to support the tuna industry in Solomon Islands. In 2013, IFC provided a $9-million loan to SolTuna Limited, a tuna processor and NFD sister company. The new financing will help fund the purchase of a new fishing vessel and ensure maintenance of the existing fishing fleet. IFC will also provide advisory services to promote best practices in environmental and social risk management, according to IFC.
“Expansion of NFD’s fleet will increase our capacity substantially and enable us to create more local jobs, directly in fishing, shore handling, provision of supplies and services, and indirectly in tuna processing,” said Frank Wickham, General Manager of NFD.
The tuna industry accounts for 18% of the country’s GDP. In recent years, NFD’s tuna catch has accounted for around 25 percent of the commercially caught tuna in Solomon Islands.
“IFC’s engagements with NFD and SolTuna will boost their combined capacity to catch and process fish — an important source of revenue in the region — and also build on sustainable management practices and set a higher standard for the wild-catch fishing industry,” said IFC Director for East Asia and the Pacific, Vivek Pathak.
Solomon Islands benefits from a sustainable and well-managed fishery. In 2016, it received the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for skipjack and yellowfin tuna purse seine and pole-and-line fishery. MSC recognizes that these species are caught from well-managed stocks and that the fishing practices meet its robust sustainability standards. The World Bank is supporting the government’s fisheries management capacity through its Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program.
Solomon Islands is classified as a fragile and conflict-affected situation (FCS) and is eligible for International Development Association (IDA) support. With 30 percent unemployment, the nation depends on its vibrant fisheries sector as a sustainable source of economic growth.
Supporting a more productive and resilient fisheries sector can sustain livelihoods, improve nutrition, and increase government tax revenues, thereby contributing to the security and equity of the country.