The FIP process outlined below is presented based largely on the multi-step FIP process described in the 2011 report “Transition to management best practice in Asian fisheries: Fisheries Improvement Planning Process (FIPP), a methodology for improved fisheries management and the development of Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs)” written by Richard Banks and Graeme Macfayden and Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd.
Fisheries Improvement Plans (FIPs) have arisen recently as a new and timely approach to sustainable fisheries management. The FIP approach distinguished itself from previous forms of intervention in that it recognizes the need in many fisheries for a “stepwise” approach of continual improvement, while remaining targeted towards (and measured against) the principles and criteria of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-certification. Merging government and market-led drivers for improved fisheries management, the FIP approach is particularly applicable in developing countries - where limited financial and human resources combined with generally weak fisheries management means that MSC certification is not practically achievable in the near-term. For some fisheries in the developing world the stepwise, yet clearly defined and measurable, approach of FIPs provides a useful tool for stakeholders – including buyers, suppliers, government managers and local fishers – to meet commitments about sourcing from sustainably-managed fisheries and/or improving fisheries management performance.
Recent experiences with FIPs have demonstrated that there are a number of key aspects to the approach and methodology being used. FIPs are typically externally facilitated by consultants/assessors with previous experience of conducting fisheries pre- and full-assessments. This is important because the FIP uses the MSC standard as a benchmarking tool for assessing and improving fishery management performance. The FIP engages multi-stakeholder participation, and incorporates a process whereby Government, the private sector, and fishers, all work together to specify and implement agreed improvements in how the fishery is managed.
The FIP utilises a stepwise approach that includes pre-assessment (measured against MSC criteria), scoping, stakeholder review and technical input, and the identification of a FIP work plan with agreed-upon priorities, activities, timelines and outputs/outcomes (see Figure 4).