The sustainable seafood movement has driven improvement of upwards of 30% of global seafood production.
The movement has accomplished this primarily through Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) – multi-stakeholder interventions that leverage market forces. Unfortunately, despite the successes achieved to date, accumulating research identifies several limitations to the conventional FIP model. These include: a tendency to stall and backslide, lack of suitability for developing world and small-scale fisheries, uneven distribution of the costs and benefits of improvement throughout supply chains, and failure to accommodate social performance. This results in significant risk for stakeholders and the movement.
Ignoring social impacts contradicts definitions of seafood sustainability which have evolved over the past 20 years to include fisher livelihoods.
To address these limitations and to maximize the success of FIPs, Ocean Outcomes, SmartFish AC, Wilderness Markets and Conservation International’s Oceans program broadened the FIP model beyond environmental considerations to include fisheries’ social and financial dimensions by developing a Triple Impact Fisheries Evaluation Framework.
The Framework increases the viability and decreases the risk of the traditional fisheries improvement process, representing an opportunity for all working in seafood.
By design, FIPs were created to drive improvement of fisheries’ environmental performance without explicit regard for their social or financial performance. The Framework builds off – and expands on – the fundamental strengths of the traditional FIP model, including its multi stakeholder and public approaches.
The Framework lays out a path forward for improving business practices, from the operational to the administrative. It provides a structure for designing and implementing integrated improvement plans to account for social, economic and environmental outcomes. © Ocean Outcomes
The Framework evaluates needs, plan improvements and monitors and publicly reports progress against the environmental, social and financial dimensions of sustainability.
It is built around three tools:
- Environmental Rapid Assessment (ERA)
- Social Responsibility Assessment Tool for the Seafood Sector (SRA)
- Financial Rapid Assessment (FRA)
The Framework is open-source, modular and agnostic.
Although the Framework is built around these three tools, it can also be used with alternatives; implementers should choose the assessment tools most relevant and useful for their contexts. However, in accordance with best practices, we recommend that implementers use tools for assessing environmental and social performance that meet international standards.