FAQs - All
The aquaculture component is still under development, but it will adhere to the same basic principles as the rest of FishSource – it will use only public information, and not define sustainability itself, but instead report on basic metrics.
Yes. Click here for the tool.
Guidance for usage:
Viewing catch density map
When you first access the link, you’ll need to select which fisheries you want to plot. By default the major whitefish fisheries globally are plotted.
You can then choose to plot either of FishSource scores 1-5 or FIP stage
It is strongly recommended usage of Google Chrome in full screen mode. Full screen view mode is under the View menu. On my Mac the shortcut is Shift + Command + F
- Zoom in/out using the +/- control on the top left. Alternatively, double click any point on the map (not markers) to zoom in, and hold down the Ctrl key while double-clicking to zoom out.
- Drag the map around to navigate
- Click on a Marker to pull up an InfoWindow. The InfoWindow shows the actual catch, FishSource score 1, and a link to the Fishery on Fishsource in a new window
- Click on a Fishery in the Fisheries legend at the bottom of the page to pan to and zoom in on the fishery
- Click on the reset map link on the top right of the Fisheries legend to reset the map. No need to reload the page
- Scroll through the fisheries in the Fisheries legend using the horizontal scroll bar on the bottom.
- The map has been optimised for 13" laptops. If you view the map on a 30" desktop, it will be slower and you’ll need to zoom into the map initially
- The map is currently hardcoded to show the whitefish fisheries. We’ll allow for fishery selection later
- Clicking on a Marker will close any open InfoWindow, and open a new one for the selected marker
- Clicking on Markers can be slightly difficult when they overlap, zoom in by double-clicking nearby and then click.
- You can also get a tooltip with the name of the fishery to appear by hovering over a Marker
- The map also works with Safari and Firefox, but there’s a slight glitch with markers at high zoom levels. No ETA on fix.
You can access the feeds via a web-based or desktop RSS reader, or else use your browser or e-mail client’s feed reader. Subscribe by right-clicking on the above links, copying the link address and pasting it into the subscribe/add feed/new feed box.
No. FishSource provides both qualitative and quantitative information about specific variables which are key across international standards of fisheries’ sustainability (e.g., ICES, NMFS) such as biomass and fishing mortality levels, impact of fishing upon habitat or bycatch, but does not define a level above which is “sustainable” – FishSource leaves it to the users of the FishSource data to do that themselves, according to whichever standard of definition of sustainability they are using. FishSource is like a thermometer – it reports a reading, but it’s up to the user to determine whether its “too hot, too cold, or just right”.
Click here to download an informational note (pdf) regarding FishSource scoring of Pacific salmon fisheries.
Click here to download a pdf copy of the FishSource salmon assessment method.
Click here to download a report explaining how the Pacific salmon fishery assessment method was developed using a statistical analysis of MSC scoring.
Since different stocks within the same species are expected to experience different sustainability status the added value of FishSource comes from providing actionable information to its audience, meaning, at the fishery and/or stock level. By doing this FishSource eases the work of seafood businesses committed to address the sustainability status of their sourcing options.
Profiles on FishSource are based on a single biological stock unit (an intraspecific group of randomly mating individuals with temporal and spatial integrity – Ihssen et al., 1981) of a single species, as determined by genetic, phenotype, growth or other population parameter, parasite or tagging studies. See Sparre & Venema, 1998 for a more detailed description of the stock concept.
The general rule for naming profiles is:
“Species name – stock unit (fishery specification if applicable)”;
The first part of the profile name is the species name. As a rule, the FAO English name is adopted (Check the FAO ASFIS List of Species for Fishery Statistics Purposes web page. As examples, the FAO name for Parapercis colias is New Zealand blue cod; for Penaeus merguiensis is Banana prawn; and for Trachurus trachurus is Atlantic horse mackerel.
The second part describes the stock unit. This is generally the name given by managers or stock assessment scientists with a further descriptor of location if necessary. E.g.: “Silver hake – US Atlantic coast northern” is just called “northern stock” by managers. If the stock structure is not known or if units are defined purely for management purposes the stock unit is labelled “Stock units undefined”. In this case, the fishing country or general area is added in brackets if needed to refine the location of the fishery, e.g. “Orange roughy – stock units undefined (Australia)”. The stock unit may be omitted when it is redundant, as in endemic species whose FAO name describes the stock location, e.g. “Peruvian anchovy”; “North Pacific hake”.
Besides the stock-based profiles there are fishery-based profiles, nested within the stock-based profiles, when only a part of the stock is addressed (“Mother” and “child” profiles). An example are those profiles associated with fisheries in the MSC evaluation system (either in assessment or certified). Brackets are also used in this case to further specify what the “child” profile addresses, specifically, the country(ies) whose jurisdiction the fishery is in and the fishing gear(s) used.
MSC “child” profiles also add to the above information in brackets the MSC client (fishers’ organization) and the MSC status – “MSC-FA” (full assessment), “MSC-C” (certified). For example: “Albacore – North Pacific (usa; lhm, ltl, jig; awfbo; msc-c)”; “Alaska pollock – Aleutian Islands (usa; tm; aspa; msc-c)”.
To see what the acronyms stand for please tick the “Highlight acronyms” box in the top right corner of the page.
Ihssen, P.E., H.E. Booke, J.M. Casselman, J.M. McGlade, N.R. Payne and F.M. Utter, 1981. Stock identification: materials and methods. Can.J.Fish.Aquat.Sci., 38(12):1838-1855.
Sparre, P. and S.C. Venema, 1998. Introduction to tropical fish stock assessment – Part 1: Manual. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 306/1 Rev.2. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/docrep/W5449e/w5449e00.htm#Contents
The Group Type field is designed to simplify a search for a fishery by allowing the user to search by broad species classification. As there are many internationally accepted standards used for classifying species, we’ve made it possible to search by several of these: FAO-Globefish groups, FAO ‘International Standard Statistical Classification for Aquatic Animals and Plants’, as well as by our internal SFP standard. An additional Group Type, Fisheries used for Reduction purposes, identifies fisheries used to produce fishmeal and fish oil and not generally used for direct human consumption.
If you wish to provide feedback on a profile please register and login. Then click on the “give us feedback” link at the top of any fishery profile. Please provide publicly available sources to support your comments. If you just want to rate the profile, click on the “rate this profile” link on the respective profile page.
If you wish to contribute content to a profile, please register and login, and then click on “apply to edit this profile” to complete a short form, and we will get in touch with you.
Click on the Feedback tab for any profile to see existing comments on the content.
Progress is objectively measured by regularly evaluating a set of milestones that document the evolution of the FIP in three areas: Process, Supplier and Improvement measures.
- Process measures evaluate whether actionable information is available that documents the sustainability status of the fishery and plans or recommendations for FIP progress.
- Supplier measures rate whether suppliers are promoting improvements, by evaluating the fishery, organising themselves, engaging regulators and improving their procurement policies.
- Impact measures assess improvements in policy and management and in fishing and buying practices.
The combination of the completion level of these milestones is algorithm-transformed into an overall result for the stage a FIP is in.
FishSource is committed to providing the highest quality data on fisheries possible. Our controls include:
- Full referencing all sources of information, so users can verify data;
- Open, online review and comment feature on FishSource;
- Author’s guide, which provides concise guidelines to contributors, including the scientific standards on which their contribution should rely;
- Internal review by FishSource staff;
- Overall supervision by an independent Science Advisory Board (SAB)composed by internationally recognized fisheries science experts which invites and appoints editors/coordinators for each fishery;
- A User Advisory Group (UAG), composed of representatives from processors, buyers and the NGO community, which provides advice on the usability and features of FishSource, relevance and timeliness of the information provided, and whether the stated vision and objectives of FishSource are being achieved or not.
The official release of stock assessments updates or of any management measures concerning the stock or fishery triggers the profiles’ updating: there’s an internal FishSource updates’ annual calendar which anticipates all major updates required and when (e.g., stock assessments for NE Atlantic fisheries are released late May / early June by ICES) which acts as a base for FishSource staff allocation. The FishSource and SFP staff also tries to be aware of the release of any non-anticipated actions / outcomes concerning management, advice or environmental matters that might justify an update of the corresponding FishSource profiles.
FishSource does not have its “own” sustainability rating system, rather providing the user with a straight forward, clear, information on how international, accredited systems would rate / have rated the fisheries. Scores make use of commonly reported numbers from stock assessments but they do not define a fishery as “good” or “bad”. Fisheries can be ranked against one another and give insights into how other groups would score a fishery against current measures of sustainability. Scores currently relate to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards, which in turn rely on international organizations’ criteria – e.g. International Council for the Exploration of the Sea – ICES. Scores have been developed in a way that a score of 8 has a parallel of an 80 MSC rating – i.e., “unconditional passing” on that criteria, towards MSC certification. Same rational applies to, e.g., a FishSource score below 6 → “the fishery will be ineligible for certification” [MSC standards]. To learn more about how scores were derived or how they relate to the MSC system you may download a PDF document here .
Fisheries that complete assessment but fail certification. Fisheries that did not achieve certification can re-enter assessment within 2 years.
This is an initial evaluation to determine if the fishery should advance to a full assessment in the short-term. A confidential pre-assessment report is provided to the client body to identify any potential problems with the fishery and provide guidance on addressing these issues before progressing to full assessment.
MSC Full Assessment
The fishery is in the process of being assessed by independent certifiers to demonstrate that it is sustainable by meeting the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing, with the aim of receiving certification.
The fishery has passed the assessment and been certified. Usually, the certification is attributed for 5 years. However, certified fisheries are subject to annual surveillances.
After the certification period, the fishery re-enters assessment and if it passes the fishery is labeled ‘Recertified’.
Fisheries may voluntarily leave the MSC program at any stage. On the other hand, if a fishery has not progressed as scheduled through the process, it may be required to withdraw from certification.
When an annual surveillance finds conditions are not being met a suspension of the certification may be announced. The fishery then has up to 90 days to work with the certification body to put in place a plan to introduce corrective measures. If the certification body approves the action plan, the fishery will remain suspended while the corrective measures are being implemented. Failure to put a suitable plan in place will result in the fishery having its certificate withdrawn at the end of the 90 days.
Fisheries certified or recertified by MSC have been categorized by SFP according to their progress on the conditions set by MSC at certification:
No conditions have been set.
Either the fishery is newly certified (within the past year) or progress on conditions has been made according to the required time-line.
Conditions have not been met as scheduled by MSC.
General sources of the information on FishSource include:
- Stock assessment reports from organizations officially engaged on assessing stocks, such as ICES (European fisheries), NOAA/NMFS (US fisheries), DFO (Canadian fisheries), New Zealand ministry of Fisheries, South American Institutes of Marine Research;
- Scientific publications on fish and fisheries dynamics, fish population biology, environmental aspects of fishing;
- Sustainability analyses, ratings and references from Environmental NGO’s / Aquaria, including publicly available Marine Stewardship Council assessment reports;
- Official online databases on fisheries statistics and legislation (e.g., European Commission fisheries legislation; Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries – STECF).
It means content has recently been developed on the fishery and is in “draft” form. We welcome all public feedback on the developed content – just register, log in, and click on “Give us feedback” on the fishery profile. To see existing feedback click through the “Feedback” tab. Please provide publicly available sources to support your comments.
We continue to welcome feedback even after the review period is over.
If you need more information, please email email@example.com and reference the name of the profile.
It’s a development stage where the FishSource team is in the process of researching the relevant information on a fishery in order to develop scores and/or summaries for the profile. If you would like to contribute to the profile, please register, log in, download the FishSource authors’ guide, and apply to edit the profile by clicking on the respective link on the profile page. If you need more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and reference the name of the profile.
FishSource is an online resource available to the public about the sustainability status of fisheries and fish stocks. FishSource consolidates and summarizes the main scientific and technical information needed by seafood buyers to evaluate the sustainability of fisheries.
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s (SFP) mission is to maintain healthy ocean and aquatic ecosystems, enhance fishing and fish-farming livelihoods and secure food supplies. We believe companies interested in responsible sourcing and long-term seafood supplies can be powerful allies in leveraging fisheries improvement. Therefore, we are committed to developing Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) – where an alliance of buyers, suppliers and producers work together to improve a fishery by pressing for better policies and management while voluntarily changing purchasing and fishing practices to reduce problems such as illegal fishing, bycatch and habitat impacts.
Each profile provides different depths of information. The profiles include: ID page with information on the species, geographical distribution, jurisdiction, and other basic information on the fishery; Sustainability Info page with scientific and technical information from FishSource contributors; Summary Page and Scores Page provide buyers with information they can use; Basics page with some facts and history about the fishery and the species; Sources page on which all sources of information for the profiles are listed including either direct links to the specific documents (when publicly available online) or full quotations (e.g., in the case of peer-reviewed scientific articles).
As each fishery is different, and can improve at a different pace, each FIP must be tailored to fit the specifics of each fishery. Acknowledging that there is likely no ‘one size fits all’ structure, SFP has developed a common process that we feel is beneficial to all FIPs regardless of the players and strategies involved:
Stage 0: Scoping and Early Engagement
The goal of the scoping stage is to understand the real nature of the situation and develop the right approach to building a FIP in the conditions particular to the relevant producers, processors, suppliers and buyers – or to decide whether a FIP should even be attempted in the first place. Scoping can be thought of as a ‘stage 0’, before a FIP begins to take shape, before the key players are brought to the table as a group to try and reach some agreement about the most pressing problems and potential solutions.
Stage 1: The FIP is being launched
After SFP has analyzed and confirmed the improvement needs in the fishery and confirmed the interest of one or more supply chain partners to explore FIP options further, the FIP is launched. The goal of this stage is to get other key industry players on board, and establish links with existing NGO efforts in that fishery or with those companies, to support effective collaborations wherever possible.
Stage 2: The FIP has formed
SFP convenes ‘roundtables’ – meetings where the key industry members are brought together to reach a shared understanding of their common interests and agreement on forming an alliance committed to collectively resolving the fishery’s problems. An understanding and consensus is generated around improvement needs, priorities and action options. A goal of this roundtable process is to develop a concrete work plan, with measurable objectives and milestones, which maps out the way forward for the FIP – and the responsibilities of each party to it. A description of the FIP is made publicly available.
Stage 3: The FIP is encouraging improvements
The participants have agreed to a FIP work plan, with a minimum of short-term (18 months or less) initial milestones and implementation has started. The FIP’s infrastructure is and a strategy for documenting FIP progress is developed. As implementation of the work plan’s objectives begins, the FIP participants articulate procurement policies demonstrating the market incentives for progress – or perhaps even the disincentives for lack thereof.
Stage 4: The FIP is delivering improvements in policies and/or fishing practices
The FIP is resulting in demonstrable improvement in the fishery such as policy changes, modifications in fishing practices – significant change that can be documented. A third party audit may be required to verify the changes in fishing practices or patterns, such as the use of low-impact fishing gears, area restrictions, or catch or effort controls.
Stage 5: The FIP is delivering improvements in the water
The FIP is resulting in verifiable change in the water such an a reduction in fishing mortality, an increase in biomass of the target stock, a reduction in bycatch or damage to marine habitats, or an increase in the population size of an impacted endangered species. These outcomes can often be verified through the use of existing third party public reports. However, in some cases, such information does not exist or is considered unreliable and a third party audit may be required to verify the outcomes.
Stage 6: MSC Certification (Optional)
SFP encourages all FIP fisheries to enter into MSC assessment, but understands this is most attractive in situations where customer demand or marketing opportunities warrant the cost. Achieving MSC certification is desired, but not absolutely a necessary requirement for a FIP. However, SFP does emphasize the benefits of MSC certification such as its value in fulfilling the required third party verification aspect of the impacts and outcomes of a FIP.
The gear types classification used by FishSource is based on the International Standard Statistical Classification of Fishing Gear (ISSCFG) recommended by FAO. Click here to download a summary pdf of gear types from FAO or here to access the complete document with descriptions of the major gears.
Where it has been deemed necessary to further break down a gear type we have expanded categories within FAO’s classification. These can be identified in fishery profile names as their abbreviated forms are followed by a suffix (e.g. MIS_rk for rake/hand gathered). The full list of gear types used on FishSource and their respective abbreviations can be downloaded here (pdf).
Principal funding for FishSource comes from private foundations.
FishSource content development is also supported by SFP’s corporate partners. In 2010, SFP Foundation was granted nonprofit status in the US under Internal Revenue Service Section 501©(3).
FishSource is directed at seafood businesses in order to help them source sustainable product, and not the individual, final consumer.
Because the statistics they rely upon obey to different official dates of release (see also “How often are the FishSource profiles updated?”)
FishSource seeks to cover as many fisheries as possible. Our approach consist on creating ID and Scores pages, as well as summary pages whenever possible, opening the profile for external contributions from experts of particular aspects of fisheries, or invited partners, following a “seed” rational, all external contributions being accommodated on the Sustainability Info sections. That’s why some fisheries only have ID, scores and/or summaries.
FishSource relies in part on user reviews and ratings to improve the quality of the service. Your contribution will ensure major buyers of seafood are using high-quality information to assess the sustainability of their sources, and how to help improve those that fall short. By contributing your own knowledge and experience, you are helping fishermen, seafood companies, scientists, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders work together to ensure healthy fisheries and oceans for the future.