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MSC credible fisheries improvement project (FIP) for a French thornback ray fishery in the Eastern Channel Sea - drafting the FIP action plan France

FROM NORD and OPN - Organisation des pÍcheurs normands and WWF - France - Project Dates:
September 2020 - February 2021

Description of Project:
Poseidon supported the French Producers' Organisations, OPN and FROM Nord, and WWF France in preparing an action plan to launch a fishery improvement project (FIP) to improve a thornback ray fishery in the Eastern Channel and reach the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainable fisheries certification.

Prior to this Project, an MSC pre-assessment of the fishery carried out in 2019 highlighted the difficulties posed by the multi-species management of skates in the Eastern Channel and recommended to carry out an analytical assessment of the stock. Indeed, since 2009 a single TAC  for the stocks of ‘skates and rays’ [rajids] is allocated in the Channel and the North Sea (sub-zone 4 and ICES division 3a, 3b and 7d). However, these stocks show differences with an increase in the biomass index of thornback rays since 2011, reaching in 2018 a relative biomass up to three times higher than other species. Over the 2013-2016 period, the thornback ray accounted for 80 % of international landings of rajids in the Eastern Channel. Thus, this ‘all skates and rays’ TAC does not guarantee that the fishing opportunities are consistent with the environmental health of the thornback ray stock.

The issues pursued within the FIP framework are therefore closely linked to the international management framework and the scientific monitoring of this species. Also, the FIP intends to create a space for consultation between the various stakeholders (managers, producers, scientists, NGOs, funders, etc.).

Detailed information on the FIP partners, objectives, and progress are available online on FisheryProgress, on which the FIP was published. FisheryProgress is an international online platform ensuring an efficient, consistent, and reliable monitoring of the FIP progress for sponsors, stakeholders and companies involved in supplying thornback rays to consumers.

Services Provided:

Poseidon drafted the scoping document to prepare the action plan. Based on feedback from the the future FIP steering committee's key members and stakeholders, Poseidon drafted the action plan.

Following this support, Poseidon was hired by the same clients to support the official launch of the FIP and monitor the FIP implementation over the next five years (July 2021 - June 2026).

The FIP was officially launched in June 2021 and published on FisheryProgress in August 2021 (link here).