New FishChoice project FisheryProgress.org tracking FIP progress
The Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and FishChoice launched a new website on Tuesday, 25 October that aims to track the progress of fishery improvement projects (FIPs) worldwide.
The website, FisheryProgress.org, is designed to help seafood buyers make better and easier sustainable sourcing choices, Richard Boot, founder and president of FishChoice, said in a press release.
“FishChoice and the Conservation Alliance are all about bringing industry and conservation leaders together to overcome sustainability challenges,” said Boot. “FisheryProgress.org works for conservation and industry because it was designed in partnership with both.”
Globally, there are dozens of FIPs addressing environmental challenges through partnerships between suppliers, retailers, conservation groups and scientific experts . Along with clear sustainability standards, public policy upgrades and other interventions, FIPs make fisheries more sustainable by harnessing the private sector’s power to incentivize positive change, Boot said.
However, detailed information about the progress being made by FIPs was difficult to locate online, often requiring the scouring of dozens of websites, according to FishChoice.
“And even then, prospective buyers or conservation advocates faced inconsistent documentation and questions about the data’s reliability,” the organization said. “FisheryProgress.org brings all of that data together on one site, using standard metrics to assess progress, and ensuring that data is independently verified.”
“We work closely with our partners to transition their supply chains to sustainable resources, and fishery improvement projects are vital to this transition,” said Stephanie Bradley, manager of Fishery Improvement Projects for the World Wildlife Fund – U.S., a Conservation Alliance member organization. “The value of a platform like FisheryProgress.org is that it collects important details about these projects and provides third-party verification of that information all in one place. This has the potential to build an easily accessible global profile of work, which in turn can provide more opportunities for seafood buyers to engage in transitioning fisheries and their supply chains.”
FisheryProgress.org uses the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Standard as a benchmark for measuring fishery performance and the progress fishery improvement projects make over time, according to a FishChoice press release.
“Each project can choose whether to pursue MSC certification, or other alternative end goals, but using the same credible standard for measuring progress allows businesses to make better-informed decisions about participating in or sourcing from these fishery improvement projects,” it said.
The FisheryProgress.org project was initiated in 2015, after the Conservation Alliance released its updated FIP guidelines. The alliance commissioned FishChoice, an alliance member organization that had already developed online tools for seafood businesses, to create FisheryProgress.org after finding that access to reliable information on FIP progress remained a barrier to conservation groups considering recommendations, and retail and foodservice buyers considering sourcing decisions, it said.
The site was designed by FishChoice in concert with an advisory committee that also included other Conservation Alliance member organizations and industry representatives.
“For industry’s conservation leaders, the question is no longer whether you’re sourcing from a FIP, it’s whether the FIP you’re sourcing from is making progress,” said John Silva, general manager of California-based seafood distributor Lusamerica Fish. “For the first time, FisheryProgress.org makes it easy to find a reliable answer.”