The power of collaboration in driving improvements in feed fisheries through FIPs
The rise in the importance of aquaculture globally and the growing demand for compliant marine ingredients has increased pressure on the market to find marine ingredient sources that are independently assessed towards a recognized standard.
The initial focus has been on single species feed fisheries within well-developed fisheries management systems, but as demand grows, along with the need for the marine ingredients sector to protect both the position of marine ingredients and its reputation globally, there is a collective need to work with fisheries that are more complex and to support them on an improvement journey.
The IFFO RS Improver Programme, which provides a mechanism by which fisheries that do not currently meet the IFFO RS requirements can work towards approval for certification along a structured pathway and obtain recognition for consistent progress made towards achieving IFFO RS approval, which is based on meeting the requirements laid out in the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. This Programme was launched in 2014, with the Panama pelagic FIP the first successful applicant and currently transitioning to v2 of the IFFO RS standard, with the latest FIP to be accepted on to the Improver Programme, the multi-stakeholder FIP established for the Ecuadorian small pelagics fishery. This autumn (Oct 2018) has also launched a series of pilots in multi species fisheries in SE Asia (Thailand and Vietnam) to test a new set of criteria in order to expand the IFFO RS IP to these more complex fisheries and to drive change in capture fisheries. Although driven by the marine ingredients sector and aquaculture chain, the focus is on improving the sustainability of these fisheries, which will ultimately increase volumes for the market for direct human consumption, with the spin-off of increased by-products from processing for the marine ingredients sector.
A multi-stakeholder panel comprised of industry, NGOs and standard holders based and/or working in SE Asia, will discuss the growing requirements of the aquaculture supply chain for responsible supply, including assurances around the protection of human rights, fish for direct human consumption and the need for collaboration and harmonization in the approaches that are adopted to ensure consistency, increase global uptake and to avoid over-burdening the sector.