Today, the Meloy Fund announced it recently invested in JAM Seafoods, Inc., a seafood processing company supporting sustainable fisheries. The investment is intended to support the company’s growth and expansion, help pre-finance fishing trips, and improve post-harvest handling of fish catch through the establishment of ice plants in key sourcing locations.
“This is a unique investment for the Meloy Fund as it brings together our key learnings in creating triple bottom line impact,” said Chester Pacio of The Meloy Fund. “We are pleased to support JAM Seafood’s visionary founder Sam Garcia, who helped guide the first small-scale tuna handline fishery in the Philippines through to MSC certification. Our investment and technical assistance will provide support to grow the business, maximize the benefits of the MSC certification, and return benefits to fishers.”
This is the first time that part of the Fund’s investment is specifically earmarked for the pre-financing of fishing trips. Fishers traditionally are financed by casas/traders, which impose a price deduction that can amount to 5%-30% of “interest” depending on the market price. As soon as the investment was finalized, the team, together with JAM Seafoods, visited the landing sites in Sablayan, Mindoro to interview fishers and traders to have a better understanding of fishers’ income, debt structure, and catch profile to better design the pre-financing program. There are at least 80 vessels with up to 240 fishers that can benefit from this pre-financing, which will ensure that fishers receive the market price and at favorable terms.
“We are excited that a portion of the Fund’s investment is specifically earmarked for pre-financing the activities of small-scale coastal fishers,” said Veronica Yow, Manager of ESG and Impact at The Meloy Fund. “Providing this upfront financing reduces the risk of potential debt bondage of fishers, improves quality and incomes, and secures loyal supply chains of sustainably caught seafood for JAM.”
The Fund’s Technical Assistance (TA) Facility also plans to support the Philippine Tuna Handline Partnership (PTHP) -- the first fishery in the Philippines to be certified under the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) globally recognized standards. PTHP comprises two Fisher Federations and the Philippines Association of Tuna Processors, Inc. (PATPI), chaired by Sam Garcia of JAM Seafoods. The TA Facility aims to strengthen the capacity of PTHP, and build upon a decade of hard work to sustain -- and potentially expand -- the certificate’s unit of assessment. Doing so will help realize the economic, social, and environmental benefits of the certification, as the TA Facility collaborates with JAM Seafoods, WWF, and the fisherfolks.
“We are excited to have this partnership with Meloy Fund,” said Sam Garcia, Founder of JAM Seafoods. “With our expansion to different fishing areas, we aim to improve our quality at source that can also uplift the lives of the fishers that we work with. With Meloy’s TA, this will improve and stabilize PTHP as an organization and its systems to better support our sustainability efforts.”