BLOG – Fisheries Improvement Program for Structural Sustainability in Fishing

Photo from Jetze van Zwol | Posted on 30 march 2023 | This project is funded by

How much red mullet, gurnard, and squid are swimming around? Although these are the target species of flyshoot fishing, this question cannot yet be answered. Within the project ‘Knowledge Project VISwijzer and Flyshootvis,’ a unique collaboration between Good Fish, Wageningen Marine Research, and the flyshoot fishermen of Cornelis Vrolijk/Jaczon is conducting research on flyshoot fishing and its target species. One of the goals within this project is to pave the way for improved management and sustainability assessments of these fish species through enhanced data collection.

In the ‘Knowledge Project VISwijzer and Flyshootvis,’ one of the goals is to gather more knowledge about the data-poor target species of flyshoot fishing. The required data has now been collected and is being used to create better-informed sustainability assessments for the VISwijzer. Good Fish is also researching the next steps for this data collection, which could take the form of a Fishery Improvement Project, or FIP. What exactly is a FIP? You’ll find out in this blog.

What is a FIP?

A Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that collaboratively works to improve the sustainability of fisheries. One or more fishing companies can participate in a FIP and are usually supported by stakeholders such as government, NGOs, supermarkets, or fish processors and sellers. In many cases, participating fishing companies work towards MSC certification through these projects, but they can also choose to improve sustainability in other areas such as reducing CO2 emissions or addressing animal welfare.

Different Types of Trajectories

Fishing companies can choose from two types of FIP trajectories. In a Basic FIP, efforts are made to address one or more specific sustainability issues, while in a Comprehensive FIP, all sustainability issues within a fishery are tackled. Both FIP trajectories are divided into three parts: an exploratory phase to determine which sustainability issues to address, a development phase in which a sustainability plan is created, and an implementation phase. Sustainability is realized in this final phase.

Differences Between Basic and Comprehensive FIPs (Good Fish, 2023)

Transparency is Beneficial

When a fishing company enters a FIP trajectory, all sustainability plans and progress documents must be made public. The progress of a FIP is assessed through (semi)annual audits. All of this information is documented on Fisheryprogress.org. This allows outsiders to see the areas in which a fishing company still needs to improve sustainability and also that a fishing company is actively working towards sustainability.

FIP on the VISwijzer

Fishing companies that participate in a FIP are rewarded with a higher sustainability score on the VISwijzer. However, they must be able to demonstrate ongoing progress in order to maintain this higher sustainability score. The intention is not to reward fisheries simply for participating in a FIP. The VISwijzer is used by consumers, fish retailers, and the hospitality industry and can play a supportive role for FIPs by disseminating knowledge and increasing market access.


This project is funded by