UK Norway lobster - bottom trawl and creel

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Project UK is working towards an environmentally sustainable future for UK fisheries by running Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) on 12 UK fisheries that have been selected by the UK seafood supply chain. They were selected due to their importance for the UK market.

Project UK has been developed in response to the demand from the supply chain, retailers, industry and NGOs. The project will commission an MSC pre-assessment to inform and develop an action plan for each fishery, which will identify improvements.

Nephrops are a commpercially important species of crustacean distributed throughout the northeast Atlantic from Iceland and the western coast of Norway in the north to the Atlantic coast of Morocco and the western and central Mediterranean. They are found predominantly in muddy sediment in which they build complex burrow systems, at depths of between 20 and 800m. Although they have a wide geographical range, there is no clear evidence of any significant migration between populations.

Total Annual Catch (TAC) quotas are set for each of the three ICES management divisions that overlay the Fishery, with total 2018 TAC set at 65,738t. Of this TAC, the West of Scotland, Irish Sea and North Sea Nehrops landed 42,622t (North Sea: 21,237t; West of Scotland: 11,842t; Irish Sea: 9,543t). Nephrops are predominantly landed by demersal trawl gear, accounting for 95% of landings, with the other 5% landed by creels. Scottish-registered vessels account for 67% of landings by weight, followed by Irish-registered vessels (27%) and English-registered vessels (6%).

FIP Description 

Project UK is working towards an environmentally sustainable future for UK fisheries by running Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) on 12 UK fisheries that have been selected by the UK seafood supply chain.

FIP Objective(s) 

By April 2024, the FIP aims to address the following:

  • Meet the 80+ score for each MSC performance indicator within 5 years (May 2019 - 2024) and be able to enter MSC full assessment. 
  • Support fisheries with the tools to implement changes and ensure their sustainable future as they move towards MSC certification
  • Follow the step by step definition of a credible FIP involving four key stages, each with associated tools & support mechanisms:
  1. Undertake MSC pre-assessment
  2. Develop an action plan for improvement
  3. Implement actions & track progress
  4. Enter full MSC assessment
  • Address and aim to improve all principle indicators scoring below 80 across the MSC as determined in the pre-assessments 
  • Use the model to establish a 'FIP conveyor belt' to identify, improve and certify UK fisheries
  • Track progress consistently and transparently, producing review reports on an annual basis using a consultant body
FIP Type 
FIP Stage 
Stage 3: FIP Implementation
Start and Projected End Dates
May 2019
April 2024
Next Progress Report Due 
Saturday, July 31, 2021
Common Name 
Norway Lobster
Scientific Name
Nephrops norvegicus
Gear Type 
Bottom Trawl
FAO Major Fishing Area
Area 27 (Atlantic, Northeast)
Exclusive Economic Zones
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Geographic Scope 
ICES Areas Iv, VIa & VIIa
Estimated Total FIP Landings 
20,091 metric tons
Estimated Total Fishery Landings 
39,066 metric tons
Landings Date 
December 2019

FIP at a Glance

May 01, 2019
18% 46% 36%
Progress Rating

A - Advanced Progress
Reserved for comprehensive FIPs that have a Stage 4 or 5 result within the past 12 months.

B - Good Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 in more than 12 months AND Stage 3 activity in the last year; OR a basic FIP that has achieved Stage 4 or 5 achievements within the past 12 months.

C - Some Recent Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 12 (but less than 24) months but has not generated a Stage 3 result within the past 12 months OR a FIP younger than a year that has never achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result but has completed a Stage 3 activity.

D - Some Past Progress
A FIP for which the most recent publicly reported Stage 4 or 5 result is more than 24 (but less than 30) months.

E - Negligible Progress
A FIP older than a year that has not reported a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 30 month (but less than 36) months; OR a FIP younger than 1 year that has not reported a Stage 3 activity.

The ratings are currently derived by SFP from publicly available data on FIP websites, including, and are determined using the following methodology: View PDF
C Some Recent Progress
Actions Complete

This pie chart represents completed environmental actions. Non-completed environmental actions may contain completed sub-tasks that are not illustrated here. For more information on environmental action progress visit the Actions Progress tab.

  • Complete
  • Incomplete
Next Update Due FisheryProgress requires a FIP to provide update reports every six months, and two missed reports will render the FIP inactive. If a report is overdue, this date will appear red.
Jul 2021
Target End Date
Apr 2024

FIP Leads

Organization Name 
Facilitated by the Marine Stewardship Council
Organization Type 
Primary Contact 
Jo Pollett
FIP Identification Number The FIP Identification Number is automatically generated by FisheryProgress when a FIP profile is created. While the number itself is not meaningful, they are used by NGOs, academia, and industry to refer to FIPs in a consistent way.