The purpose of this report is to synthesize the findings from our eight-month investigation of fishery improvement projects (FIPs), for which we conducted 30 site visits and over 140 interviews globally. The goal of this investigation was to understand how FIPs are currently implemented around the world and characterize their progress, best practices, and lessons learned. Over the course of our research it became evident that the original FIP model has rapidly evolved and now manifests in a variety of forms, which we attempt to outline herein. However, this new understanding complicates the answers to some of our simplest questions: What is a FIP? What is the goal of a FIP? Which FIPs are best?
In this report we summarize our understanding of how FIPs have evolved, how they are implemented differently today, and how these factors influence the potential explanations of their purpose. We also highlight a number of additional takeaways from our investigation, including identifying key drivers of success, addressing common challenges and critiques, and reflecting on what may be on the horizon for the FIP model.
We hope that this summary will provide an overview of the contemporary FIP landscape and becomes a common reference point for the broader conservation community. Ultimately, we hope that this work can help shift the conversations about FIPs toward a more strategic discussion of the relative value of the different FIP approaches and how they can complement each other in order to have greater collective impact.