Irish Tuna Fishery Improvement Project
The target species in the Irish tuna fishery is Northern Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga). In 2017 landings of Albacore were worth approximately €6,469,000 to the Irish fleet. The main fishing method used by the Irish fleet is pelagic pair trawling.
The overall Albacore fishery involves fleets from many countries and is managed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The albacore stock in the North Atlantic is currently assessed as having good status and being well managed.
The fishery usually takes place in the Summer months between June and August.
What are FIPs?
FIPs are a practical, industry-led approach to making continual improvements in the sustainability of specific fisheries in an ever more demanding marketplace. They are based on co-operation between all sectors in the fishery chain, from catching to processing to retail in collaboration with NGO’s who wish to see fishing continue while progress is made towards sustainability. Examples of this progress would be using more selective gear, development of plans to manage effort or any other initiatives that have the impact of improving fishery sustainability.
A FIP may be an intermediate stage towards getting a third-party certification, such as MSC, or it may be a stand-alone initiative aimed at improving a fishery. A key characteristic of all FIPs is that the industry is taking control of their own destiny and playing a key role in their own future.
Why should I join?
FIPs can create two main positive outcomes for fishermen. The first is in improving the stock and many FIP actions are aimed at stock improvement such as by collaborating with scientists to achieve a better understanding of stock health and facilitating moving towards MSY.
The second main benefit is in improving market access and getting a better return for catches. The market for seafood is becoming increasingly demanding in terms of demonstrating that fisheries are either sustainable and well managed or on a path towards it. Irish seafood competes in markets with product sourced from MSC certified fisheries and FIPs.