The IFFO RS multispecies criteria have been launched in order to be tested during the next 3 years with relevant fisheries such as mixed trawl fisheries in SE Asia. During this period, the pilot approach will work as a part of the IFFO RS Improver Programme (IFFO RS IP).
The multispecies criteria have been developed by experts in alignment with the APFIC (Asia Pacific Fisheries Commission) guidelines and the FAO Ecosystem Approach for Fisheries (EAF) and have been comprehensively peer reviewed to ensure a robust and credible framework. The objective of these criteria is to enable the assessment of highly complex fisheries in which sometimes hundreds of species are regularly caught. The approach characterises fisheries using a risk-rating system, enabling the development of an improvement plan, which will produce a measurable reduction in risk over time. This requires a system which allows both the measurement of the current status of the fishery, and the determination of a ‘better’ state towards which to aim. Data collection and analysis, science-based regulations and management measures, effective control and enforcement, and other management efforts can be viewed as acting to mitigate these risks.
The pilot will enable us to test the methodology in active fisheries so we can refine it and ultimately develop a credible and realistic set of criteria. This pilot will be considered as one of the requirements for acceptance onto the IFFO RS Improver Programme and over time work towards full IFFO RS approval.
Multispecies fisheries that are a part of this pilot approach must comply with the IFFO RS Improver Programme Application Mechanism (found here) and associated assurance process. They must also actively demonstrate genuine improvement and meet clearly defined targets over an agreed period. The end goal of this pilot is to provide a credible and recognised assessment framework to evaluate multispecies fisheries.