If you have other questions not included on this page, please contact MarinTrust at [email protected].

What is the Multispecies Criteria Pilot Project?

MarinTrust identified a gap in accessibility to the MarinTrust programme, with the traditional fishery assessment methodology being incompatible with highly complex fisheries in which sometimes hundreds of species are regularly caught such as those in SE Asia. The objective of the multispecies assessment is to enable the evaluation of these fisheries and to allow them to demonstrate responsible management practices.

The aim is to develop a credible and recognised assessment framework to evaluate multi-species fisheries. The assessment will be considered as one of the requirements for acceptance onto the MarinTrust Improver Programme (IP) with the ultimate aim to incorporate the multispecies assessment into the MarinTrust standard (as part of the fishery assessment requirement) to increase accessibility for these fisheries and provide them with a pathway to approval once the fisheries have improved.

MarinTrust is testing the draft Multispecies Criteria by applying these to real-world fisheries. Fisheries wishing to apply to the Improver Programme, which are active participants in a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP), will be put through the full draft multispecies assessment process as part of the pilot. The results of these pilots will be used to revise the Multispecies Criteria.

How does the Multispecies pilot project define a multispecies fishery?

MarinTrust defines a multispecies fishery as one in which many different species are targeted by fishers. In most current MarinTrust approved fisheries, one or two species make up the large majority of the catch – often 95% or more. In a multispecies fishery there may be several hundred different species being caught and potentially used to manufacture fishmeal and fish oil.

What are the MarinTrust Multispecies Criteria?

The extent to which a fishery meets the requirements of the MarinTrust Standard is measured by completing a fishery assessment. The current MarinTrust fishery assessment methodology is designed to ensure the responsible management of fisheries where a small number of species make up a majority of the catch, which makes it difficult to directly apply the methodology to multispecies fisheries.

To allow multispecies fisheries to apply to the scheme, MarinTrust has developed a methodology with input from the MarinTrust Governance, mixed-trawl fisheries workshops conducted in Vietnam and Thailand, the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) Guidelines and other expert guidance. The draft has been peer reviewed by experts and is based around set criteria under the following topics: The species caught in the fishery; ETP species with which the fishery interacts; the physical habitats within which the fishery occurs, and; the ecosystems within which the fishery occurs.

The testing of the Multispecies Criteria within the methodology will enable a limited number of multispecies fisheries to apply to the MarinTrust Improver Programme (IP). Once the Criteria are fully tested and established, the aim is to incorporate the multispecies assessment into the MarinTrust standard (as part of the fishery assessment requirement).

What claim can FIP Fisheries that are part of the Multispecies Pilot Project make?

FIPs that have been accepted onto the Multispecies pilot project via the MarinTrust Improver Programme application process can make the following claim: MarinTrust Improver Programme Accepted FIP as part of the multispecies pilot project.

For Marine Ingredient production sites: As long as only the FIP has been accepted (and no site in compliance with the MarinTrust standard), they cannot make the claim of using MarinTrust IP material.

What claim can Marine Ingredient Production sites sourcing from a Multispecies Pilot FIP make?

Marine Ingredient production sites that have passed a MarinTrust audit and source raw material from a FIP accepted onto the Multispecies pilot project via the MarinTrust Improver Programme can make the following claim: MarinTrust Improver Programme Accepted site as part of the multispecies pilot project.

Who is involved in the multispecies pilot project development?

The MarinTrust multispecies pilot project is guided by the Multispecies Pilot Steering Group (MPSG). It is the group’s role to ensure the Multispecies Pilot Project runs smoothly and transparently and as part of this they will scrutinise the pilot process, identify areas of improvement and ultimately make it fit for purpose.

Once the assessment is finalised, the formal process for incorporating it into the MarinTrust standard will involve all levels of governance, including the Fisheries Development Oversight Committee (FDOC), the Standard Steering Committee (SSC) and the Governing Body Committee (GBC).

What is the process of the Multispecies Criteria Pilot?

The multispecies fisheries selected for the pilot study will be subjected to a full fishery assessment. This will aim to characterise the fishery to determine its current status, and to design an improvement timeline along which the fishery can work towards improving and to eventually achieve full MarinTrust approval.

What are the entry level criteria for applicant fisheries?

The entry level criteria (i.e. the minimum requirements which multispecies fisheries must be met to be considered for application to the Improver Programme) has been determined defined on the basis of FAO documentation, including the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the APFIC tropical trawl guidelines, and also based on the outcomes of MarinTrust MPSG meetings and other developmental activities. The entry level criteria are summarised in the table below and can be found in full here.

MS image
What are the next steps?

There are currently two FIPs accepted on the MarinTrust Improver Programme as part of the multispecies pilot project, the Gulf of Thailand mixed-trawl FIP and the Vung Tau multispecies FIP. During the pilot process, the FIPs must demonstrate improvements in line with their Fishery Action Plans (FAPs) against the multispecies fishery assessment which will be monitored and evaluated to determine whether the assessment is facilitating improvements within these fisheries.

Once the pilot studies have been completed a final version of the Criteria will be presented to the MarinTrust Standard Steering Committee (SSC) for technical approval, before being submitted to the MarinTrust Governing Body Committee for final approval. At this stage the Improver Programme will be able to accept all applications from multispecies fisheries. The development of the Criteria will then continue to enable multispecies fisheries to apply for full MarinTrust approval.

What level of participation within a FIP is required from Fishmeal Producers to earn recognition from MarinTrust?

The application must be completed via the Fishmeal Producers, and their participation will be required to make sure all the objectives identified in the FIP are achieved. In addition, all fishmeal producing plants wishing to produce Improver Programme marine ingredients must be compliant to the full MarinTrust standard, and so must pass a MarinTrust audit according to the standard factory certification process.

If the fishery IP application process has unspecified completion timelines, what are the alternatives for a fishmeal plant to enter MarinTrust IP programme and/or get MarinTrust certified?

Factories should wait until the multispecies FIP they are sourcing from has been accepted onto the MarinTrust IP via the multispecies pilot project before submitting their MarinTrust IP application.

How to find out more, get involved or report a concern about an exciting project?

For any queries or more information, or if you would like to report a concern regarding an existing project or applicant, please contact the MarinTrust secretariat at [email protected]. You can find more information regarding this in the MarinTrust Quality Management System here.