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Fishery Improvement Projects

Increasing market demand for sustainable seafood has led to considerable growth of Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs).

Credible FIPs are multi-stakeholder initiatives that aim to improve a fishery towards sustainability and MSC certification. The MSC works to support such improvement by developing tools and building capacity on the ground.

How the MSC defines a credible FIP

The MSC recognises the important contribution that FIPs can make to improving overall fisheries health and in promoting sustainable seafood. However, we believe that it is important that they are operated in a manner that is credible: that their actions are transparent; that they clearly show improvement in fishery performance; and that these fisheries ultimately demonstrate their sustainability through a robust, independent assessment process. 

Our credible FIP definition is supported by a capacity building program and a series of fishery improvement tools [anchor to below?] – such as the Benchmarking and Tracking Tool – all of which help stakeholders, funders and retailers monitor the progress of FIPs against the MSC Fisheries Standard as a best practice benchmark.

Download The MSC definition of a credible FIP (PDF)

4 steps to a credible FIP

A credible FIP involves four key steps, each with associated tools and support mechanisms.

  1. Undertake MSC pre-assessment

    A gap analysis against the MSC Fisheries Standard is the first stage of a credible FIP. The MSC Pre-Assessment Template can be used for this and should be carried out by an approved assessor.

  2. Develop an action plan for improvement

    An action plan linked to MSC performance indicators and designed to close gaps in the performance of the fishery should be developed by someone with MSC expertise using the MSC Action Plan Tool. The end goal should be reaching the MSC Fisheries Standard.

  3. Implement actions and track progress

    Implement the actions as set out in action plan and track progress consistently and transparently using the MSC's Benchmarking and Tracking Tool. Progress should be publicly reported on an annual basis.

  4. Enter full MSC assessment

    Validate the improvements in the fishery toward sustainability through the comprehensive, transparent and independent MSC assessment process. This must be carried out by an accredited certification body.

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Help for FIPs

Our technical consultants register below lists experts who can provide services to fisheries as they work towards meeting the MSC Standard. 

Those listed on the register understand the requirements of the MSC Fisheries Standard. They can help with: 

  • Conducting a gap analysis of fishery performance against the Standard
  • Developing and assisting in the implementation of a fisheries improvement action plan
  • Project managing MSC assessments or liaising between the fishery and the assessment body 

The technical consultant register is tiered. Individuals are listed as either technical consultants or associate technical consultants. The difference between the two tiers is the level of practical experience in the application of the MSC Fisheries Standard that the consultant has.

Technical consultants

Name, email link and company


David Japp
African and developing country fisheries. Projects include Kenya. Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa.  
Duncan Leadbitter
Fish Matter Pty Ltd
Sustainability assessment, policy development, experience in Asia Pacific countries fisheries.
Fiona Nimmo
Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd (Scotland office)
Fisheries management, environmental interactions, environmental assessments and sustainable development. Experience in European and Asian fisheries.
Graeme MacFadyen  
Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd (Geneva office) 
Fisheries policy, management, MCS/IUU, economics, trade/marketing, value-chains, evaluation. Experience in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa and Americas. 
Graeme Parkes
MRAG Ltd, United Kingdom
Fisheries resource assessment, marine fisheries development, resource survey, fisheries development policy and strategic planning. 
Jo Gascoigne 
MacAlister Elliot and Partners (MEP)
Fisheries consultant, specialising in fisheries assessment and management, management of shellfish resources and culture and environmental and ecological studies relating to fisheries.  
Kevin Stokes 
Wide ranging fisheries science, management, policy and governance. Experience working with government and industry and in multi-stakeholder settings.
Paul Medley  
Independent Consultant (UK) 
Fisheries stock assessment, specialisation in tropical small-scale fisheries, data collection and scientific management advice.
Richard Banks  
Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management (Pty) Ltd (Australia-Pacific office) 
Governance, fisheries policy and management, compliance, bycatch management, harvest strategies, rules and tools. Specialises in Australia, Pacific, all ASEAN countries, South Asia, China and New Zealand.
Rich Lincoln 
Ocean Outcomes (USA)
Deep, diverse experience in fisheries management, research, policy, third-party certification, fishery assessments, and fishery improvement gap analyses and work plan design/consulting - in a wide range of jurisdictions, species and geographies.
Dr Rob Blyth-Skyrme 
Ichthys Marine Ecological Consulting Ltd. (UK) 
Fisheries science, management and policy specialist with experience in North America and Europe.
Rod Cappell  
Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd (Scotland office) 
Fisheries policy, economics and sustainable development. Experience in European, Asian and Middle Eastern fisheries.
Dr Sophie des Clers 
Greenfishers Consultants
Fisheries public and business policy, economics and management.
Tim Huntington  
Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd (UK Main office)
Specialist in environmental interactions with fisheries (bycatch and discards, ETP, habitats and trophic changes) in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Particular experience  with tuna, groundfish and shrimp fisheries.
Tristan Southall  
TDS Marine Resource Management (UK)
Fishery policy analysis and marine consultancy.
Dr. Robert Wakeford 
MRAG Ltd. (UK) 
Fisheries management and policy, stock assessment, 
environmental impacts and programme management. 
Experience of high latitude and tropical ecosystems, 
including small-scale multi-species fisheries and 
industrial fisheries. 

Associate consultants 

An associate technical consultant has had comprehensive training, but has not been part of a full MSC assessment or surveillance team.

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