This glossary provides brief definitions and requirements for easy reference by FisheryProgress.org users. For more details, please read the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions’ Guidelines for Supporting Fishery Improvement Projects and the FisheryProgress.org Review Protocols.
- FIP Lead
Users may contact the FIP lead with questions about the FIP or to learn more about engaging with and/or sourcing from the FIP.
- FIP Status
FIP status helps identify where the FIP is in its process. FisheryProgress only tracks progress on active FIPs.
Active FIPs are currently implementing their workplans and reporting progress to FisheryProgress as per our reporting guidelines. These can be either basic or comprehensive (defined below).
Inactive FIPs ended before achieving their goals or failed to meet the FisheryProgress.org requirements for progress reporting (specifically, failing to submit reports for one year or failing to report at least one stage 4 or stage 5 outcome within three years).
Prospective FIPs are currently in stage 0 or 1 and intend to meet the requirements for basic or comprehensive FIPs and complete stage 2 within one year.
Completed FIPs have graduated to certification or otherwise achieved all of their objectives.
- FIP Types
FisheryProgress tracks two types of active FIPs – basic and comprehensive. The primary differences between basic and comprehensive fishery improvement projects are the level of scoping to inform development of the workplan, the objectives, and the verification required.
Basic FIPs are a good entry point for fisheries to begin addressing specific environmental challenges to improve their performance against the Marine Stewardship Council Fisheries Standard. Basic FIPs complete a needs assessment to understand the challenges in the fishery.
Comprehensive FIPs aim to address all of the fishery’s environmental challenges necessary to achieve a level of performance consistent with an unconditional pass of the Marine Stewardship Council Fisheries Standard. Comprehensive FIPs engage a party experienced with applying the MSC standard to complete an MSC pre-assessment to understand the challenges in the fishery and must have independent, in-person audits of progress against the MSC standard every three years.
- FIP Stages
FisheryProgress.org recognizes six FIP stages:
- Stage 0: FIP Identification
Target fishery identified and supply chain analysis conducted.
- Stage 1: FIP Development
Assessment of the fishery’s environmental performance conducted and participants recruited.
- Stage 2: FIP Launch
Participants and workplan finalized and made public. Budget adopted (but need not be public).
- Stage 3: FIP Implementation
Workplan implemented and progress tracked.
- Stage 4: Improvements in Fishing Practices or Fishery Management
Demonstrated improvements in policy, management, or fishing practices documented.
- Stage 5: Improvements on the Water
Demonstrated improvements on the water documented.
- Stage 0: FIP Identification
- FIP Objective(s)
Objectives define the near-term scope of the FIP and must be specific, measurable, and time-bound. Basic FIP objectives address a specific set of the environmental challenges identified in the needs assessment to improve the fishery’s performance against the MSC standard. Comprehensive FIP objectives address all of the fishery’s environmental challenges necessary to achieve a level of sustainability consistent with an unconditional pass of the MSC standard.
- For a comprehensive FIP
Achieve MSC certification by 2020.
- For a basic FIP
Promote the use of gear that diminishes environmental impacts by 2017.
Promote full compliance with fishery regulations by 2018.
Implement traceability programs to increase the producers’ transparency and accountability by 2020.
- For a comprehensive FIP
- FAO Major Fishing Area
- The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has defined 27 major fishing areas around the world.
- Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
- Countries have jurisdiction over the exploration and exploitation of marine resources within 200 nautical miles of their shores.
- Independent Verification of Completion
- When a FIP reports that it is complete and provides independent verification for the final claim it's making about the performance level it has achieved, the reviewer will move it to the Completed section of the website. Examples of claims and appropriate verification include:
- Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO)
- RFMOs are international bodies made up of countries interested in managing fish stocks in a particular region. These include coastal countries whose waters are home to part of an identified fish stock and distant water fishing countries whose fleets travel to areas where a fish stock is found. To identify what RFMO a FIP might be in, visit the FAO website by clicking here.
- A fishery improvement project must include active participation by companies in the supply chain. Other important participants include government, fishery managers, and nongovernmental organizations. Participation means contributing financial or in-kind support to the project and/or working on activities in the workplan.
- Memorandum of Understanding
- A Memorandum of Understanding is one way of demonstrating the participants in a FIP. It should clearly identify the FIP scope or name, names and organizations of participants, specific terms of agreement (e.g., funding/in-kind support and/or activities to be conducted by each participant), and end date, and include confirmation that all parties have signed the MOU.
- Participant List
- A participant list is one way of demonstrating the participants in a FIP. It should include names and organizations of participants and the nature of their engagement in the FIP (e.g., funding/in-kind support and/or activities to be conducted by each participant).
- A pre-assessment is a preliminary evaluation of a fishery against all MSC performance indicators to provide a picture of the fishery’s baseline environmental performance and challenges. A pre-assessment allows a fishery to identify any areas that need to be improved to reach an unconditional pass of the MSC standard. A pre-assessment must be completed by someone experienced with applying the MSC standard (e.g., is a registered MSC technical consultant or accredited auditing body). Review the following examples of a pre-assessment:
- Needs Assessment
- A needs assessment is an evaluation of a fishery that covers the three principle areas of the MSC standard to determine environmental challenges and improvements needed in the fishery. It may not assess the fishery’s performance against every performance indicator at a detailed level.
- Scoping Document
- A scoping document summarizes the results of the needs assessment or pre-assessment and recommends strategies for addressing the fishery’s challenges to help fishery improvement project participants develop a workplan. If these elements are included in the fishery’s pre-assessment or needs assessment, a separate scoping document is not necessary. Review the following examples of a scoping document:
- A workplan includes a list of actions the FIP will undertake to meet its objectives, a breakdown of specific tasks under each action, organizations or people responsible for completing each action, and a month and year deadline for completing each action. Each action must be linked to the indicators it means to address. Review the following examples of a workplan:
- An action is a major activity from the FIP’s workplan that must be completed to address the deficiencies identified in the needs assessment (for basic FIPs) or MSC pre-assessment (for comprehensive FIPs).
- Action: 1.2.1 Development and Implementation of conservation measures
- Action: 2.1.1. Document the catch of species in the handline and longline fisheries
- Action: Assess gear impacts on habitat
- Tasks break actions down into specific steps that describe how the action will be accomplished. Tasks provide more clarity on how the FIP intends to complete each action.
- Peru mahi-mahi - longline (WWF)
Action: 1.2.1 Development and Implementation of conservation measures
- Analysis of current measures in place for the conservation of the mahi-mahi stock (at national and international level) & identification of priority areas for implementation
- Design of research project on hook selectivity and other measures (as appropriate depending on existing information)
- Agreement on measures to be implemented as part of the overall harvest strategy for the conservation of mahi-mahi
- Establish a closed season for mahi-mahi in Peru
- Implementation of management measures (e.g. close seasons, hook size etc.)
Vietnam yellowfin tuna - longline/handline
Action: 2.1.1. Document the catch of species in the handline and longline fisheries
- Establish an observer scheme to monitor all catches of retained species and document the level of discarding from the handline and longline fisheries
- Extend port sampling procedures to cover retained species (and informed by the observer scheme)
- Document observer data and port sampling verification, and prepare summary reports of main and vulnerable species (retained) interactions other than bigeye tuna.
Japan albacore tuna - longline
Action: Assess gear impacts on habitat
- Collect information on gear loss and actions taken to minimize the gear loss.
- Conduct research on fished habitats and about potential impacts on those habitats from lost longline gear
- If impacts are likely, develop and document measures to minimize the impact on habitat
- Implement a strategy to minimize habitat impacts and a monitoring plan to check whether the strategy is working.
- Publish report about the main habitats in fished areas and the fishery’s impact on these habitats.
- Progress Ratings
FIP Progress Ratings, developed by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, use time benchmarks to quickly understand the rate at which a fishery is improving. Each progress rating is associated with an alphabetic 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.
- Proof of Budget
- At minimum, proof of budget must include a list of main expenses and revenue sources for the FIP. A more comprehensive budget could list all of the costs associated with each activity, as well as secured funding and needed funding for each activity. A budget may anonymize or aggregate the sources of revenue, and may include in-kind contributions as well as monetary contributions. A FIP must update the budget once per year.
- Indicator Baseline Supporting Documentation
- A FIP must upload materials to verify its initial baseline indicator scores. If a FIP’s pre-assessment or needs assessment includes baseline scoring and supporting evidence, the assessment can meet this requirement. If not, the FIP must submit additional documentation to support its baseline scores against the indicators.
- Marine Stewardship Council Fisheries Standard
- FisheryProgress.org uses 28 indicators based on the MSC Fisheries Standard version 2.0 as a common measuring stick for all FIPs on the website. The MSC Fisheries Standard is accessible to all fisheries regardless of whether they decide to pursue certification. The standard was developed in consultation with scientists, the fishing industry, and conservation groups. It reflects the most up-to-date understanding of internationally accepted fisheries science and best practice management. The 28 indicators fall within three core principles: 1) sustainable fish stocks; 2) minimizing environmental impact; and 3) effective management. If you’re unfamiliar with the MSC standard, this guidance document may be helpful.
FIPs must provide evidence of progress on actions in the workplan and, if needed, additional evidence for changes in indicator scores.
Evidence for Action Progress
Evidence will vary depending on the actions. The following are examples of different kinds of evidence for action progress:
- Signed agreements with consultants, government, or others demonstrating progress on specific activities such as research.
- Meeting agendas, notes, and/or participant lists.
- Letters sent to governments, suppliers, or others.
- Media articles, blog posts, and/or statements posted on a website.
Evidence for Score Changes
Score changes may be driven by action progress (see above) or by demonstrated improvements in policy, management, or fishing practices or improvements on the water. Evidence will vary depending on the improvement reported. The following are examples of different kinds of evidence for various improvements a FIP may report:
- Policy change
management plan, ministerial decree, or media coverage documenting policy change.
- Change in fishery status
government or third-party reports showing improvement in fishery (e.g., stock assessment).
- Changes in fishing practice
government or consultant report, or summary report from FIP coordinator. For fishing practice changes, evidence must clearly state what proportion of the fishery has implemented the changes.
peer-reviewed study, consultant or government report, or grant report that confirms data being collected.
- Independent Audit
- An independent audit is an in-person review of a FIP’s action results and performance against the MSC standard (e.g., changes in fisheries policy, management, or fishing practices and ultimately the health of the fishery) by someone who has demonstrated experience applying the MSC standard and is independent from the organization implementing the FIP. Independent audit reports are required for comprehensive FIPs every three years, and encouraged for basic FIPs.
Independent Verification of Completion
- When a FIP reports that it is complete and provides independent verification for the final claim it’s making about the performance level it has achieved, the reviewer will move it to the Completed section of the website. Examples of claims and appropriate verification include:
- Claim: Certified; Independent Verification: Certification report
- Claim: In MSC full assessment; Independent Verification: Publicly announced and not on exited list
- Claim: Rated; Independent Verification: Assessment report
- Claim: Met specific objective such as bycatch reduction; Independent Verification: Independent evidence–government report, peer-reviewed paper, etc.