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Processors use the Verifish platform to demonstrate sustainable sourcing of fishery products.

Fishery Improvement Projects provide a platform for fishermen, seafood buyers and suppliers to develop a strategy to improve a specific fishery over a given time period.

 To register for one of the FIPs please see below.


Read on for further information

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.

Fishery Improvement Projects

The target species in the Irish crab fishery is Cancer pagurus. C. pagurus is a “long lived” (i.e.>20 years) species. It matures at a size of approximately 100-130mm carapace width and at a probable age of 5-7 years. Juvenile crab are abundant in shallow coastal waters and tend to migrate to deeper waters as they grow. Recently size frequency data of crab from the fishery shows a trend in increasing size with distance offshore.


All targeted fishing for crab is undertaken with pots or creels set in ‘strings’ of 25-100. The pots are composed of a metal frame supporting a wide mesh netting. Entrances are designed mainly as so called “soft-eyes” which consists of a flap of netting which the crab can push upwards as it enters the pot and which then closes. Some pots may have hard eye tope entrances and may have a double chamber. However such variations are exceptions in the targeted crab fishery and are more likely to be used locally in the lobster fishery. Gear is baited with a variety of fish species and is soaked for 24-72hrs although exceptionally, during for example poor weather, they may be soaked for longer periods of time.


This Fishery Improvement Project is focused on Irish fisheries for whitefish species – hake, megrim, anglerfish, haddock and whiting – which are important for the Irish fishing industry. Collectively the landings of these species are valued at around €43.3 million caught principally in four trawl and seine fisheries and a targeted gillnet fishery for hake. Total landings for all species have been relatively stable over the period 2011-2015.



This Fishery Improvement Project is focused on the Irish Fishery for Albacore Tuna. This is an important species for the pelagic fleet and they are caught of the South and West Coasts of Ireland. Ireland has a quota of 2,600 tonnes, the majority of which is caught with pelagic pair trawls and a smaller amount caught on lines.



Nephrops norvegicus or Dublin Bay prawns are found throughout the Atlantic waters of the EU, from the Azores to the North Sea. They live on muddy sea beds in burrows at depths that range from a few metres down to 500 m or more. Nephrops can live up to 12 years in the case of males, 30 in the case of females, and can reach more than 25 cm in length (measured by the carapace), though most adults are typically between 10 and 20 cm long. They reach sexual maturity at between two and three years of age.




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A report on FIP’s performance globally

A recent report on the performance of FIP's globally has some interesting results for our FIPs A recent report on the performance of FIPs globally has some interesting results for our FIPs (


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