Fishery Improvement Project

Click the image below to visit the WWF Fishery Improvement Project page.

Partnership TAB

A Fishery Improvement Project (or FIP) is a collaborative initiative, with the ambitious goal of enabling a fishery to reach the necessary sustainability standards to enter full assessment by credible third party assessment schemes, in this case the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The South- East Trawl Fishery (also known as the Commonwealth Trawl Fishery) is Australia’s largest Commonwealth managed finfish fishery.  It runs from Barranjoey Point to Cape Jervis in South Australia encompassing Victoria and Tasmania.   It is a multi-species fishery which harvests many species. Although the FIP focusses on two commercially important species, pink ling and leatherjackets, the project addresses key issues and potential impacts surrounding the harvest of these species including associated bycatch and interactions with threatened species.  Because the project implements measures to ensure that all these potential impacts are managed in line with MSC standards/principles by the end of the four year project, the conservation benefits should flow to a far greater range of species than the two target species.

This project’s activity will include rebuilding stock levels of specific at risk fish species, improving stock assessment and reporting methods and investigating and mitigating impacts on non-target species.  It is the next step in the ongoing sustainability journey of this fishery.

Signatories to this FIP are the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA, who represents the fishers of the South East Trawl Fishery), Coles and WWF-Australia.

Coles source a large volume of seafood from the Australian fishing industry including the South East Trawl Fishery.  As part of Coles’ commitment to responsible sourcing of seafood, it considers investing in projects which improve the environmental practices of fisheries it sources from as the right thing to do – and it makes good business sense to ensure that supplies are sustainable in the long term too.  Coles’ additional funds will assist the implementation of electronic logbooks onto every vessel in the fishery which aims to improve reporting, and provide windy buoy devices to all vessels which are proven to significantly reduce interactions between seabirds and the wires used to tow nets.

The FIP will be audited annually by an independent assessor and this audit will determine whether the project is on track to deliver standards consistent with the sustainability criteria for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) within the period of the FIP.

To ensure transparency of this project, the following documents are publicly available:

The Scoping document which provides an overview of the gaps between the existing operation and management of the fishery and MSC standards

The FIP Action Plan – which sets out all the actions, timeframes and responsibilities that will be fulfilled under the project

FIP Action Plan Review and Scoping Document Review– which includes this independent organisations review of the Draft FIP Action Plan to provide surety that the plan will address all current issues and deliver MSC standards at the end of the four year project. Comments provided in the MRAG (a fisheries consultant) review have been incorporated in the final FIP Action Plan

The SESSF TRAWL FIP YEAR 1 PROGRESS REPORT April 2016 was completed in April 2016 by MRAG.