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.
A supplier roundtable provides a geographical focus to a group of high- to medium-risk fisheries within a single seafood sector or region and acts to support FIP activity where it can. A roundtable typically includes processors, importers, and others that buy directly from a specific sector in a particular region. Retailers and other stakeholders can be participants depending on circumstances, and primary producers generally contribute as implementers of specific FIPs.
The roundtables work to:
- Identify gaps in their region where new FIPs need to be initiated
- Encourage the formation and efficient operation of FIPs
- Provide advice to individual, industry-led FIPs where required
- Check on the progress of FIPs that are linked to the roundtable
In essence, a roundtable is a coordination body that maximizes the efficiency of improvement efforts through identifying the common needs of different fisheries and avoiding duplication. SFP provides administrative, technical, and logistical support for roundtables and supplies important data around fishery evaluations and FIP progress ratings.
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.