The Seafood Association of Great Britain (SAGB), which includes Young’s Seafood, Macduff Shellfish, and Whitby Seafoods, has formed a group to support a fishery improvement project (FIP) in the U.K.'s nephrops fishery.
The Nephrops Processors Group (NPG) was originally formed in 2020 within SAGB to create a forum for the U.K.’s main nephrops processors and brands to discuss issues affecting the industry and market. The primary focus of the group is now the delivery of the Project U.K. FIP, with two outcomes in mind: improve the fishery and improve market access for the product.
The majority of the group is comprised of members of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC), which is a pre-competitive partnership of U.K. seafood businesses, including retailers, foodservice operators, and processors. SSC members agree to follow codes of conduct on how products can be described in terms of being responsible and sustainable, and what seafood cannot be sold if it is deemed as high-risk from a sustainability perspective.
FIPs have proven to be a credible and transparent path to more sustainable and responsible management for fisheries for SSC members. FIPs also deliver sustainability market benefits in the U.K. due to an increasing number of retailers including FIPs in their sourcing policies and committing to sourcing from Project U.K. FIPs specifically.
The group will focus on the following priorities:
- To work collaboratively towards a successful outcome of the Project U.K. FIP;
- To identify opportunities to work together to improve the management of the nephrops fisheries and liaise with all parties on progressing the FIP;
- To promote the U.K.'s nephrops market to consumers;
- To highlight the importance of FIPs and certification in maintaining and developing key domestic and export markets.
Customers of group members in the U.K. and globally, including retailers and foodservice businesses, have developed clear policies regarding the products they can sell, necessitating the FIP, the group's members said. Responding to this growing list of preferences and requirements, the NPG felt a comprehensive FIP was the best tool to improve market access and conditions and will likely benefit all who rely on nephrops – even beyond group members – the group said in a press release.
Comprehensive FIPs align with the requirements of certification and, according to the group, “there is increased and growing recognition of certification schemes in the marketplace by consumers, including southern European markets, which is a significant market for the whole langoustine.”
“We strongly believe that certification will be more commonly expected by seafood consumers. The certified Danish and Swedish fishery was first certified in 2015 and has grown the market for certified nephrops,” NPG said.
NPG said its members believe Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or equivalent certification will be the best way to maintain access to the most-important markets in the future and to have assured supply to serve those markets.