The Fish Tracker Initiative aims to investigate the role that financial institutions play in financing the trade in global fisheries, in particular the exploitation of wild fish stocks or their processing for entry into the commercial food chain.
Many such fishery businesses, many of which are focused on wild catch, are listed on stock exchanges. There, we find household name banks as lenders and large pension funds and insurance companies as shareholders.
Thus far, little is understood about company behaviour and where practices are linked to overfishing. From a fisheries management perspective, such activities are problematic as they can endanger species. From a finance perspective these activities represent a looming supply problem and a risk to revenues. Fish Tracker aims to research listed fisheries companies and highlight where capital might flow to fishing practices that exceed environmental limits, creating risks to the companies and hindering conservation efforts.
Fish Tracker’s goal is to stimulate change in investor behaviour and, through a more responsible approach to investing in the sector, encourage better practice. This will mean adjustment to how the sector is financed so as to ensure that the risk premium associated with fisheries activity is correctly priced. Fish Tracker will identify the companies, the regions, and fisheries where banks and investors should exercise caution. The business models of these companies depend upon a healthy sea and careful management of fisheries stocks. Yet more often than not, investors are not aware of the risks current fishing practices pose to the long-term viability of their investments.