Fishery Improvement Projects
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A number of Irish Fishery Improvement Projects or FIPs have been established. Those that are already up and running include Brown Crab, Prawn, Whitefish, Albacore Tuna and Celtic Sea Herring.
What are FIPs?
FIPs are an industry-led approach to improving sustainability of specific fisheries in an ever more demanding marketplace. They are based on co-operation between all sectors in the fishery chain, from catching to processing to retail in collaboration with NGO’s who wish to see fishing continue while progress towards sustainability is made. Examples of this progress could be the use of more selective gear or the development of effort management plans.
A FIP may be an intermediate stage towards getting a third-party certification, such as MSC, or it may be a stand-alone initiative to improve a fishery. A key characteristic of all FIPs is that the industry is taking control of their destiny and playing a key role in their own future.
Why should I join?
There are two main strands in how FIPs can create positive outcomes for fishermen. The first is in relation to stock improvements and many FIP actions are aimed at improving the state of target stocks. An example of this is the move by the Irish Brown Crab FIP to reduce amounts of white crab being landed.
The second main benefit strand is in improving access to markets and getting a better return for catches. Whether we like it or not the market for seafood is increasingly demanding in terms of demonstrating fishery sustainability. Real progress has been made in the market where fisheries with FIPs have been accepted by major retail chains such as Walmart and Aldi which were previously focussed on MSC. The number of FIPs underway internationally is growing all the time and Irish seafood competes in the market with these fisheries.
Irish POs and co-ops and a growing number of buyers and processors are participating in FIP meetings along with fishermen. They are recommending that vessels should join any FIPs relevant to the species they are landing.
What am I signing up to?
All FIP members including fishermen, processors or retailers are required to sign up to a set of membership rules including provision of details to enable traceability. The main undertaking for fishermen and vessel owners is to provide catch details in relation to product from the FIP which may include quantities landed, areas fished, gear fished and the buyer of the product. Fishermen may also be required to participate in initiatives such as data provision in order to improve scientific knowledge of stock status or to verify progress towards CFP Maximum Sustainable Yield goals.
Likewise agents and processors who are FIP members must undertake to supply data on FIP product including vessel details, quantities landed, processed quantities and where the product was sold.
FIP workplans generally include a summary of the key issues the fishery is facing and some first steps towards addressing those problems. Examples of workplan tasks include the collecting of scientific information by fishing boats on fish stocks or on the use of more selective gears.
If you are interested in looking at the 2019 FIP workplans prior to joining you can access them via the following links
Information available to Members:
When you join you will automatically receive access to information on 2019 workplans, minutes of previous meetings, membership rules, MSC pre-assessment summaries and reports. Members will also receive regular updates on progress towards workplan goals and any other developments.
Additional information is also available for each FIP including summaries and full reports for MSC pre-assessments. From a fisherman’s, processor’s or retailer’s perspective these reports indicate where work needs to be done in order to demonstrate that the fisheries are on the road towards being sustainably managed.
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