Fishery Improvement Projects (FIP) Online Training


One of the biggest threats to the ocean is unsustainable fishing. When done right, fishing can benefit people while maintaining balance in nature. But when fishing practices take too heavy a toll on the marine environment, wildlife populations and critical habitats decline, which jeopardizes jobs and a critical food supply.

Fishery improvement projects—or FIPs—are multi-stakeholder efforts to improve fishing practices and management so that species, habitats, and people can all thrive. The projects use the power of the private sector to incentivize positive changes toward sustainability in fisheries and seek to make these changes endure by establishing new government policies.

WWF in collaboration with several other organizations have developed this training program to provide fishery stakeholders worldwide with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop and implement FIPs—without having to travel to in-person conferences or workshops. The program includes seven courses along with case studies (see Interactive Courses below) to reinforce learning and resources to help you along your future FIP journey.

Once you've completed one or more courses, please complete the training evaluation (English survey / Spanish survey).



Please contact us, in English or Spanish, with any questions about the training courses below, or to provide feedback on the courses. We look forward to hearing from you. [email protected].

Email Us



Interactive Courses

Course 1: Overview of Fishery Improvement Projects

Estimated length: 30-45 minutes; for a general audience

Fishery improvement projects (FIPs) are the sustainable seafood movement’s primary tool for incentivizing fisheries improvement, and they have yielded notable progress over the past 20 years. To put this into context, it is helpful to understand what FIPs are, how they have evolved, and what characteristics can help make them successful.

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the evolution of FIPs and seafood buyer engagement
  • Identify basic characteristics of FIPs.
  • Determine FIP incentives.
  • Identify FIP stakeholders and their roles.
  • Recognize FIP challenges and emerging issues.
  • Identify FIP impacts.



Course 2: Introduction to the Marine Stewardship Council Program and Fisheries Standard

Estimated length: course: 30 minutes; FIP case study exercises: 20 minutes

FIPs can have various end goals, such as obtaining a Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch green rating or an eco-certification. However, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions uses the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Standard as a tool for measuring the environmental performance of fisheries and the progress FIPs make over time. The Standard is an accessible benchmarking tool for all fisheries and does not require the fishery to pursue MSC certification. Using the same credible Standard for measuring the progress of all FIPs allows businesses with sustainable seafood commitments to make better informed decisions about participating in or sourcing from these projects. Therefore, it is important for FIP stakeholders to understand how MSC defines fisheries, its requirements for certification, and its scoring methodology.

In this course, you will:

  • Understand the purpose of the MSC Fisheries Standard.
  • Determine whether a fishery is within the scope of the MSC Fisheries Standard.
  • Learn how the MSC defines a fishery, and identify the difference between the Unit of Assessment (UoA) and the Unit of Certification (UoC).
  • Understand what each of the Three Principles of the MSC Fisheries Standard entails.
  • Identify the components assessed under each MSC Principle.
  • Identify the number of performance indicators (PIs) assessed under the MSC Fisheries Standard.
  • Evaluate PI and principle level scoring to determine whether a fishery passes the MSC full assessment.
  • Understand what occurs during the MSC pre-assessment.
  • Practice applying the concepts you have learned in the course to real-world fishery examples through FIP case study exercises.



Course 3: Stage 0: FIP Identification

Estimated length: 15 minutes

For fisheries that do not currently meet the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Standard, a fishery improvement project (FIP) offers a stepwise approach to achieving more sustainable practices. During the identification stage, stakeholders target a fishery that may benefit from a FIP. This early stage will focus on key questions that should be considered when starting a FIP, including how to structure the FIP, who should be engaged, and what financial support is available.

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the evolution of FIPs and seafood buyer engagement
  • Define the structure of a FIP.
  • Understand the goals for carrying out a supply chain analysis.
  • Identify the value of conducting a socioeconomic assessment.
  • Identify components of a budget and funding plan.



Course 4: Stage 1: FIP Development

Estimated length: course: 15 minutes; FIP case study exercises: 20 minutes

During the FIP development stage, stakeholders come together to assess the fishery’s performance, identify potential areas of concern, and document problems to be resolved. This stage includes three critical milestones: stakeholder mapping and engagement, completion of an MSC pre-assessment or needs assessment, and completion of a scoping document.

In this course, you will:

  • Identify stakeholders that are the most relevant to the fishery improvement project.
  • Identify the difference between a needs assessment and an MSC pre-assessment.
  • Learn what information is included in the scoping document.
  • Practice applying the concepts you have learned in the course to real-world fishery examples through FIP case study exercises.



Course 5: Stage 2: FIP Launch

Estimated length: course: 15 minutes; FIP case study exercises: 20 minutes

Following FIP stakeholder mapping and development of the pre-assessment or needs assessment and scoping document, the FIP is ready to move into Stage 2: FIP Launch.

In this course, you will:

  • Learn how to plan an effective FIP stakeholder meeting to develop the FIP workplan.
  • Identify key components of a FIP workplan.
  • Practice applying the concepts you have learned in the course to real-world fishery examples through FIP case study exercises.



Course 6: Stage 3: FIP Implementation

Estimated length: 15 minutes

During the FIP Implementation stage, FIP stakeholders implement the FIP workplan and publicly report its progress. This course will explain the value of using the platform and the MSC Benchmarking and Tracking Tool to track and report FIP progress, and summarize requirements and best practices to help implementation go smoothly.

In this course, you will:

  • Identify steps that fisheries take during Stage 3: FIP Implementation.
  • Review the recommended tools for reporting and tracking FIP progress.
  • Learn why FisheryProgress is the recommended platform for publicly reporting progress and monitoring FIPs.
  • Understand how the MSC Benchmarking and Tracking Tool (BMT) and FisheryProgress work together to help fisheries track and report FIP progress.
  • Recognize the roles and responsibilities of the FIP team throughout the FIP implementation stage.



Course 7: Stages 4 and 5: FIP Progress and Impact

Estimated length: 15 minutes

Stage 4: Improvements in Fishing Practices or Management and Stage 5: Improvements on the Water are not about development or implementation of the FIP, but rather measuring the impact of the FIP on improved health of the fishery and ocean ecosystem. During these stages, fisheries must demonstrate improvements in policy, management, or fishing practices, and produce documented evidence of improvements on the water. It is helpful to become familiar with the FIP Progress Rating system that is used on and learn how to achieve Stage 4 and 5 results.

In this course, you will:

  • Identify Stage 4 indicators of progress.
  • Identify Stage 5 indicators of progress.
  • Learn about verifiable changes on the water according to the Conservation Alliance FIP guidelines.
  • Understand the purpose of FIP Progress Ratings.
  • Review the functionality of FIP Progress Ratings.
  • Understand FIP best practices and key drivers of success.



Additional Resources


  • FIP Glossary

    FIP Glossary
    Overview of Fishery Improvement Projects common terms and phrases

    Download in English | Download in Spanish

  • Actioning the Monterey Framework

    Actioning the Monterey Framework
    Capacity-Building Tools for FIP Implementers on Social Responsibility.

    Here you will find the Social Responsibility Assessment Tool for the Seafood Sector and the corresponding Data Collection Guide. Both documents are available in English, Bahasa, French, and Spanish.


The following Job Aids and Case Studies are located throughout the various courses, but they are included here for quick reference as well. Practice questions related to the case studies are included in courses 2, 4, and 5.




Discussion Forums

See FIP-related forums below: