Many commercially important fisheries are not yet managed well enough to meet the standards of credible international arbiters of sustainability. This presents many major seafood buyers and producers with a dilemma: they need the products of these fisheries, but they are committed to sustainability in their sourcing. SFP works with the seafood industry to meet this challenge by helping fisheries achieve the sustainability requirements of major markets.
SFP takes an active role in initiating and coordinating improvements in fisheries but we always aim for industry to eventually take a leadership role in every fishery where we work. SFP organizes improvement activity through fishery improvement projects and supplier roundtables.
Fishery Improvement Projects
A fishery improvement project (FIP) operates via an alliance of seafood buyers, suppliers, and producers. These stakeholders work together to improve a specific fishery by pressing for better policies and management, while voluntarily changing purchasing and fishing practices to reduce problems such as illegal fishing, bycatch, and habitat impacts. These projects are predominantly led by industry and other third parties, with SFP providing technical support and expertise at a variety of levels. SFP still directly coordinates a few FIPs in fisheries that face very significant challenges but transitions these projects to industry as soon as practically feasible.
There are several useful FIP resources available on this site (see links in the right-hand column and also this video
). We recommend that anyone interested in FIPs visit the FIP Directory
to find additional resources as well as profiles of many FIPs around the world.
Supply Chain Roundtables
A supply chain roundtable is a forum for processors, importers, and others that buy directly from a specific seafood sector to work together in a pre-competitive environment to achieve improvements in fisheries or aquaculture. Retailers and other stakeholders can also be participants but primary producers generally only contribute as implementers of specific improvement projects.
The roundtables work to support existing improvement projects and help those that are struggling to make progress, as well as identifying areas where new projects are needed.
In essence, a roundtable is a mechanism for the supply chain to promote improvements in fishing and fish farming for a particular seafood sector in a specific area. A roundtable provides a valuable role in coordinating and encouraging improvement activities and helps projects share skills and experience. The participants in a roundtable may only meet once a year in person, but there are regular meetings by teleconference along with technical briefings when required. SFP provides the administrative, technical, and logistical support for roundtables and supplies important data around fishery evaluations and improvement progress ratings.
Click here to read a message from our CEO, Jim Cannon, about how supply chain roundtables work.
Reporting on Seafood Sectors
SFP also analyses the seafood industry via the study of “sectors” (such as crab, whitefish, reduction fish, etc.). These sectors can be seen on the left-hand menu on this page and each supplier roundtable is assigned to a particular sector.
SFP produces annual reports for each sector that analyze the performance of relevant fisheries, the principal sustainability challenges, and the volumes of product available to the market in different categories of management (for instance, “very well managed,” “well managed,” and “in need of improvement”). These reports can be found in the publication
section of this website.