Fishery Improvement Projects

Increasing market demand for sustainable seafood has led to considerable growth of Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). We support credible FIPs with our tools and the In-Transition to MSC (ITM) program.

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) are multi-stakeholder initiatives that aim to help fisheries work towards sustainability. 

How we define a credible FIP

We believe it’s important that FIPs are transparent, demonstrate measurable improvement and are operated in a credible manner. Key elements of our credible FIP definition are: 

 

Completion of an MSC pre-assessment
Development of an improvement action plan
Regular reporting on progress
A mechanism to verify progress 
A clear timeline with an end date that should generally not exceed 5 years
Commitment to MSC certification.

Our In-Transition to MSC program

To support fisheries in credible FIPs we are piloting a new program called In-Transition to MSC (ITM). This program offers fisheries independent verification of their progress. 

We also support the progress of fisheries towards MSC certification with our fishery improvement tools.

What are the benefits of joining the ITM program?

Participation helps fisheries demonstrate their progress and commitment to potential funders and supporters of credible improvement projects. The program also helps fisheries prepare for entering full MSC assessment. 

Fisheries in the program will be eligible to apply for funding from the MSC’s Transition Assistance Fund to support the implementation of their action plans. 

Fisheries will not be eligible for MSC Chain of Custody certification, product labelling or business-to-business claims until they are fully certified.

Can my fishery enter the ITM program?

In early 2020 the program will open for applications from small-scale fisheries.

Currently six fisheries engaged in the MSC Fish for Good project are in the pilot program.

To enter, fisheries must be committed to achieving MSC certification and plan on entering full assessment after completing the ITM period which should not exceed five years.

To join your fishery must meet the following requirements:

  • Have completed an MSC pre-assessment in the last three years that uses the full scoring sections in the current MSC pre-assessment template. This must have been conducted or verified by an MSC accredited Conformity Assessment Body (CAB).
  • Have developed an improvement action plan that is verified by a CAB.
  • Use the MSC benchmarking and tracking tool to track progress against the MSC Fisheries Standard.
  • Have an ITM project manager who can dedicate time to implementing improvements.

What happens if my fishery enters the ITM program?

  1. Entering the program

    A fishery needs to be independently assessed by a CAB to confirm it is eligible.

  2. Annual review of progress

    A CAB will verify the fishery’s progress against its action plan. Fisheries should be on target to achieve expected improvements.

  3. Transition to full assessment

    When a fishery has achieved all its score improvements, it is expected to enter full assessment for MSC certification with the prospect of achieving at least a conditional pass.

How can my fishery apply?

In April 2020 the pilot will open to applications from fisheries that meet the eligibility requirements. 

If you are interested in applying or would like to know more about the program, please register your interest by emailing the Global Accessibility team

Find out more

Fishing boats in a harbour with mountains and blue sky behind them.

Fishery improvement tools

The MSC has several improvement tools to support the progress of fisheries towards MSC certification.

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Hands typing on a computer which is showing a fishing map. Other monitors are in the background.Fishing

Technical consultants register

Our technical consultants register lists experts who can provide services to fisheries as they work towards meeting the MSC Fisheries Standard.

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Fishermen landing skipjack tuna in small boat, Lakshadweep, India

Our Capacity Building Program

Our Capacity Building Program supports fisheries that are improving towards sustainability and MSC certification.

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