NGOs and FIPs
FIPs are required to transparently demonstrate that they are making progress towards sustainability. They may be supported or partnered with an NGO to ensure that this is a credible process. For example in the UK a number of FIPs have been set up and are running with the support of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and they must comply with an MSC approved FIP process.
The Irish Tuna FIP works with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) which is a business-focused NGO focuses on the use of information tools and a methodology that allows companies to directly engage with suppliers of natural resources. It does not campaign or provide eco-labels, but works to reduce the barriers to action by industry in creating a more sustainable world. SFP operates through two main principles: information and improvement.
Once seafood companies have information, they can then identify where the problems lie in their supply chain and take action. However, trying to engage directly in a fishery, which may be thousands of miles away, is a daunting prospect for most organizations, especially when they have no in-house expertise on marine management. SFP helps to overcome this barrier by creating Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) – essentially multi-stakeholder groups that include catchers, processors, and others with an interest in the fishery who work together to create and implement an improvement plan. SFP now has more than 40 FIPs operating around the world.