Verifact's Commitment to Sustainable Fisheries: A Closer Look at Irish Fishery Improvement Projects - image

Wednesday 12th June 2024

Verifact's Commitment to Sustainable Fisheries: A Closer Look at Irish Fishery Improvement Projects

With World Oceans Day having been this past weekend, June 8th, we are reminded of the importance of sustainability in fisheries. Verifact are working hard to ensure that we achieve this for Irish fisheries through our work on Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs).

FIPs involve all sectors of the supply chain; catchers, processors and retailers, in a partnership to put fisheries on the right path. Following an independent assessment, a fishery workplan is developed to address any sustainability issues identified. This workplan usually covers a 5-year period and progress is independently verified by an external body such as Fishery Progress (

Verifact are the co-coordinators of several Irish FIPs which are funded by the state fisheries board, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM). At Verifact, we aim to take a balanced approach to achieving sustainability, centred on ensuring that actions taken are both meaningful and supported by the fishing industry.

A good example of fishery improvement can be seen with the Irish Albacore Tuna FIP. FIPs look at 3 core elements: the health of the fish stock itself, the fishery's wider environmental impact, and its management. In the case of the Irish Albacore Tuna FIP the stock is in excellent health - the highest since the 1960's, and the management plan for the fishery has been independently assessed as being sustainable and robust. The one gap the FIP had in terms of demonstrating sustainability was the availability of bycatch data for the fishery. We worked with the Marine Institute and BIM to place a trained, independent observer on tuna vessels to collect the necessary data in accordance with scientific protocols. This has been done for the past 4 years and last year tuna skippers also participated in a sampling at sea program to further back up the observer data. This work means that the Irish Albacore Tuna fishery is verifiably sustainable and can access the most demanding and valuable markets. 

Information on all the Irish FIPs can be found at