Many important fisheries are not yet managed well enough to meet the standards of credible international arbiters of sustainability. This puts many major seafood buyers and producers in a bind: 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 less well-managed fisheries meet the environmental 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 at three levels:
Sector Groups are set up to cover specific sectors, such as whitefish, and include supply chain members with a direct interest in the subject. The groups do not directly support fishery improvement projects, but act as a forum for information exchange and discussion, develop procurement specifications, and identify new areas of work in the future.
A Supplier Roundtable provides a geographical focus to a group of high- to medium-risk fisheries within a single (or otherwise defined) sector and acts to support FIP activity where it can. A roundtable typically includes processors, importers, and others that buy direct from a specific sector in a specific region (retailers or other stakeholders can be participants depending on circumstances, but primary producers generally participate at project level). The roundtables act to:
• Identify gaps in their region where new FIPs need to be initiated
• Encourage the formation and efficient operation of FIPs in their sector/region
• Provide advice, technical briefings, and evaluations to individual industry-led FIPs
• Evaluate 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. The SR platform structure varies according to circumstances (some have physical meetings and formal participation lists, others are more of an informal, virtual information resource).
Each SR tracks and monitors (to varying extents) a portfolio of FIPs; some are 3rd party and some are SFP FIPs where industry has assumed a leadership role. In the absence of a central global FIP portal, SFP has also undertaken to provide URL links and host some of the 3rd party reports on a temporary basis. SFP encourages use of the standardized reporting templates, but we recognize that this will depend on industry capacity and can take time.
Fishery Improvement Projects
A fishery improvement project (FIP) operates via a collaborative alliance of buyers, suppliers, and producers. These stakeholders work together to improve a 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 increasingly led by industry, with SFP providing technical support and expertise at a variety of levels. This page provides a number of information resources regarding FIPs:
- FIP Overview – this document provides a more detailed description of how FIPs function
- FIP Profiles – these provide an up-to-date description of the activities of an individual FIP including recent achievements
(see the profiles in the column on the left)
- FIP Tool Kit – the tool kit is a set of documents that can guide anyone through the process of creating and implementing a FIP.