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Jason Scott, Managing Partner of Encourage Capital. (Photo: Encourage Capital/FIS)

First investment fund in sustainable fisheries launched

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Thursday, February 16, 2017, 02:40 (GMT + 9)

Investment funds Zoma Capital and Encourage Capital announced the launch of the first-ever sustainable seafood investment holding company, called Pescador Holdings.

The announcement was made at the Economist Impact Investing Summit, in Time Warner Centre in New York City, where the companies said that the launch of Pescador is the culmination of more than two years of investment research funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Rockefeller Foundation as part of the Vibrant Oceans Initiative.

In 2016, the venture capital firm Encourage Capital released Investing for Sustainable Global Fisheries, a set of investment plans to strategically recover the economic value that is lost due to poor fisheries management, and restore ocean ecosystems, increasing the sustainable seafood supply and providing livelihoods for poor and vulnerable people in seafood dependent economies.

The company indicated that Pescador Holdings would start with an initial USD10 million commitment from Zoma Capital.

Melissa Cheong, Chief Investment Officer of Zoma Capital, said Pescador will invest in best in class sustainable seafood businesses for the long term.

"We believe this sustainability-focused strategy will allow companies and ecosystems to meet their full financial and productivity potential by aligning the time frame of investments with the time frame of sustainably managed biological systems,” the executive highlighted.

For his part, Jason Scott, Managing Partner of Encourage Capital stressed, “The Zoma Capital and Encourage Capital partnership marks the first time that a research-based, mission aligned investment company has been designed from the ground up to capitalize on the demand for more sustainable seafood.”

He also pointed out that local company, government, non-profit and stakeholder partnerships are equally central to that groundbreaking systemic approach, ensuring the ongoing protection and restoration of fisheries.

As its initial commitment, Pescador Holdings has invested in Chile’s Geomar, a leading sustainable seafood company with products sold in major markets throughout the world with 20 years of experience working directly with more than 700 artisanal fishers in Chile.

This Chilean company cut out intermediaries by sourcing from as many as 134 capture zones across Chile, and transporting, canning and selling the seafood directly to retail distributors.

Geomar’s products are sold in Chile and important export markets in North America, Europe and Asia, including the United States, France and Hong Kong.

Javier Denoso, CEO of Geomar, said “With these resources we will increase regional employment in Chile, increase the volume and quality of sustainable seafood sourced from fisherman, and invest in distribution of Geomar products directly to customers who appreciate high quality, sustainably sourced seafood.”

The company currently employs 150 people – mostly women from the local community in semi-skilled seafood processing roles - at their central manufacturing hub in Coronel, one of Chile’s poorest regions. It is considered to be one of the most sophisticated facilities in the Chilean seafood industry.

Pescador Holdings intends to partner with businesses benefiting from fisheries stabilization or restoration, which have the potential to generate attractive financial returns driven primarily by increased volume availability.

The holding will work with companies poised to benefit from improvements in supply-chain efficiency, as well as vertical integration and access to higher-value markets.

Its goal is to include fishing companies and fishery improvements that will protect and restore stock biomass and critical marine habitat, and empower fishers and their communities through higher incomes and greater livelihood resilience.

 
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