The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has launched a new tool, which can be used by a fisheries improvement project (FIP) or a fishery that is making improvements towards eventual MSC certification, to enable them to track progress in a consistent and robust way.
Globally, there are many examples of fisheries operating sustainably and that have achieved MSC certification. However, there are a number of other fisheries that are not in a position to immediately enter MSC assessment and become certified. Undertaking improvements and forming a FIP is one option these fisheries have, to set them on the pathway towards MSC Certification.
A FIP typically involves a gap analysis to identify areas within a fishery where improvements are needed. It also involves setting out actions, milestones and timelines required to meet these improvements over time. FIPs provide an effective mechanism for fisheries to improve towards sustainability. However, due to wide variations that exist from one FIP to another, there is an identified need for a transparent and comparable way of tracking information about FIPs and how they are progressing towards their end goal.
The MSC Benchmarking and Monitoring Tool (BMT) has been designed to provide a consistent method of benchmarking FIPs against the MSC standard, while also tracking progress as the fishery moves towards meeting MSC requirements.
“The BMT can help retailers, buyers, funders, NGOs and FIP co-ordinators better understand the improvements a fishery is making as it works towards meeting the MSC standard,” explains Cassie Leisk, MSC’s Fishery Improvement Project Engagement Manager.
“By providing tools for stakeholders working with FIPs, we are enabling more fisheries to progress to the stage where they can meet the MSC standard for sustainable fishing and join us in working to safeguard the world’s seafood supplies.”
Speaking at MSC’s second Developing World Fisheries Conference, Mark MacPherson, Anova Food, said: “As a company really entrenched in FIPs, to have a tool that we can use to consistently benchmark and track our projects, report on the milestones and gauge FIPs performance is phenomenal.”
The Benchmarking tool is one part of the MSC’s work to support fisheries that want to eventually become certified. The MSC also undertakes regular training and development of other tools to ensure fisheries can successfully improve towards sustainability and MSC Certification.