Business partnerships the key to improving fisheries

Getting involved in a fishery improvement project (FIP) doesn’t have to be a long-term thing.

That was one of the messages panelists had for the industry at Monday’s conference session “Catalyzing Industry to Rebuild Fisheries: Fostering Multi-Stakeholder Collaborations via the Clinton Global Initiatives.”

“One of the issues with a lot of companies is that getting involved with an FIP is a 15- to 20-year project,” said Brandon Tidwell, manager of sustainability for Darden Restaurants, which in 2011 committed to working with the Clinton Global Initiatives to launch three FIPs in three years.

Tidwell says they are working on providing front-end tools in the next 12 to 24 months to help more businesses get engaged in projects. One idea is to provide a clear structure on how industry can get engaged, even if it’s just a two- to three-year commitment to jumpstart a project.

“It’s not this massive commitment, but it’s a partnership and collaboration with other folks,” said Meghan Jeans of the New England Aquarium.

The goal for that fishery and others in FIPs is not necessarily Marine Stewardship Council certification, explained Megan Westmeyer of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, which works on improvement projects.

“We don’t define sustainability. That’s really about our buyer partners figuring it out for themselves,” she said. “An FIP is not a certification, it’s a process.”


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