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Project UK launches new website and film

Project UK’s new website launches today highlighting the seafood sector’s commitment to a sustainable future for UK fisheries. 

A film hosted on the new site film spotlights Project UK’s important role in ensuring seafood and livelihoods for future generations. 

Project UK is a collaborative partnership working towards an environmentally sustainable future for UK fisheries through the implementation of credible Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs).  

Katie Keay, the Marine Stewardship Council’s Senior Fisheries Outreach Manager, UK & Ireland, said: “It’s really exciting to launch Project UK’s new website today and celebrate how far the project has come since it started. The progress being made across the FIPs is a huge testament to the collaboration and hard work that has gone into Project UK from across the sector.”  

There are 12 fisheries in eight FIPs across the UK, bringing together the private and public sectors to address environmental challenges. The seven species covered in the FIPs are plaice, lemon sole, crab, lobster, scallops, monkfish and Nephrops

Jim Portus, Executive Manager of the South Western Fish Producer Organisation, said: “Getting involved in the Project UK FIPs has been a good experience for the fishermen and vessel owners of SWFPO. The Principles of MSC Accreditation were almost unknown at the start, but the FIPs are led by really competent people, so we all quickly learned the shortcomings of the three fisheries, and two species, we’d agreed to take through the process. Monkfish and Scallops are really prized catches for our members and it’s really important that the stocks are kept in a sustainable condition through good management, but that isn’t possible without a thorough understanding of stock status. The FIPs are enabling fishermen and fisheries managers to make informed decisions for a truly long term and viable future.” 

Mike Park, from the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, said: “The Nephrops industry has come a long way in a short period of time, and we know there’s more we can do. It’s not just about catching fish. It’s about managing the resource, it’s about satisfying the marketplace. The more we can fill knowledge gaps, the more sustainable we can be.” 

The FIPs use the Marine Stewardship Council’s FIP tools and pre-assessment process to identify areas for improvement in the fishery, and subsequently develop Action Plans to address these areas. The project aims to move the fisheries to a point where they could meet the MSC standard with no conditions.

Among the funders of the FIPS are major retailers

Helena Delgado Nordmann, Responsible Sourcing Manager (Marine), Tesco, said: “We know how important it is to our customers that we protect the marine environment and source our seafood in a sustainable way. Project UK is playing a key role in helping us achieve this, supporting fisheries across the UK to meet the MSC sustainability standard. It’s great to see the initiative being highlighted in this way and gaining support from across the industry.” 

Aisla Jones, Fish Sustainability Manager at Co-op, said: “Project UK is taking people on a journey. Just because retailers decide they want sustainable product on shelf, it doesn’t mean it will happen overnight. It’s great to be involved with Project UK because, hopefully, it’ll mean we’ll end up with lots more sustainable options from UK fisheries.”

About Project UK 

Project UK is a collaborative partnership between the fishing industry, scientists, NGOs and the seafood supply chain. The project works towards increasing the sustainability of UK fisheries through the implementation of credible Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). 

Each FIP has an associated Steering Group formed by relevant stakeholders that inform and  contribute to the success of the FIP by providing information, expertise and other support as identified in the Action Plan. Project UK Action Plans cover a five-year timeframe. The progress of the FIP is publicly reported through, as well as in annual reviews, meeting minutes and the upcoming new Project UK website. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the secretariat and facilitator of Project UK.