The Hilborn Lab at the University of Washington and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) have released an updated version of their Fishery Improvement Projects Database (FIP-DB). UW and SFP, which released the update on Wednesday, 24 February, are calling the database the “world’s most comprehensive resource for current and historical information on fishery improvement projects (FIPs),” with data from all the globe’s 249 FIPs.
Nicole Baker, a research scientist for the Hilborn Lab, said the database will function as a guide to help analyze and implement new FIP measures.
“In order to build the scientific evidence needed to establish and improve FIPs, standardized and consistent analysis of FIP characteristics is critical. This database is a key starting point for researchers investigating the influence of external factors on FIP success. It provides the FIP community with consistent and accurate data to ensure effective FIP implementation and, ultimately, improvements on the water,” Baker said.
The publicly available trove has time series data stretching back to 2003 and aims to provide extensive resources for academic research. It includes a complete listing of FIPs, along with progress indicators and FishSource scores. This latest version of the database includes graphic representations of key statistics of the various FIPs to make research easier for NGOs, governments, journalists, and others.
The last 20 years have seen the number of FIPs grow quickly around the world as strong fisheries management and sustainable harvests become an imperative for more seafood buyers and fishing companies. FIPs began in larger, more mature seafoods sectors, but have since spread to other regions like Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where they have been implemented in artisanal fisheries as well.
The new database will provide a one-stop shop designed for quick and easy analysis that will allow researchers to pinpoint which fisheries have made the most significant advances and what major factors have contributed to those advances, SFP Global Policy Director Brad Spear said.
“As FIPs continue to expand, it is important to learn from the past and implement FIPs in ways that ensure policy change and lasting success,” Spear said.
Founded in 2006 to restore depleted fish stocks and reduce the negative impacts of fish and fish farming, SFP was an early proponent of FIPs. The UW’s Hilborn Lab combines data analysis and field work on best practice management for healthy fisheries.
According to a press release from SFP and the Hilborn Lab, FIPs “bring together players within the supply chain to work together to demand and leverage better management of marine resources by identifying environmental issues that need to be addressed, setting the priority actions that should be undertaken and overseeing the action plan adopted by the participants.”