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Over recent years, international markets have become more demanding about the sustainability of the fishing stocks from which they source. In response to this, under its Origin Green raw material sourcing targets, Castletownbere Fishermen’s Co-op has made the commitment to improve the sustainability of its fisheries by working closely with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, to implement Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). FIPs provide a platform for fishermen, seafood buyers and suppliers to develop a strategy to improve a specific fishery by considering better policies and management over a given time period. Developing a FIP is a recognised method, globally, of improving the sustainability of fish stocks. BIM have linked the participation of registered FIPs to its Responsibly Sourced Seafood standard (RSS). This link provides the opportunity for actions and participation in a FIP to be verified independently to a third party certified standard.

Castletownbere Co-op understands the importance of FIPs to simultaneously improve both the sustainability of fisheries and to access markets which demand sustainability and environmental credentials. The company has identified that this is a very important initiative and is a key stakeholder in the development of FIPs for Nephrops, Albacore Tuna, Monkfish, Megrims and Hake. In addition, the Co-op aims to have all its vessels involved in FIPs for respective target species. To fulfil these commitments, the company will convene pre-competitive supply chain roundtables to identify practical actions based on objective scientific information and set clear timeframes to achieve improvement targets. Furthermore, Castletownbere is also underpinning this commitment to sustainable fishing practices with independent certification of its member vessels to the BIM RSS standard, which covers handling, quality, and environmental aspects, as well as crew wellbeing.