Guyana trawl seabob FIP

The Atlantic Seabob FIP has now been registered on the SFP FIP (Fishery Improvement Project) Directory website - further details at http://fisheryimprovementprojects.org/fip/guyana-atlantic-seabob/.  A dedicated project website is under construction. 

This Guyana seabob FIP process began in early 2009 with the completion of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) pre-assessment. 

The Guyana seabob stock is assessed as being in good health and the programme of fishery monitoring and management has been strengthened, including MCS.  Remaining sustainability concerns for this fishery revolve around monitoring the impact of by-catch mitigation measures, monitoring and management of ETP interactions, and management of habitat and ecosystem impacts.

By-catch in this fishery is significant, though less than for deeper water warm water penaeid trawl fisheries.  Side by side trials of BRDs undertaken as part of the project demonstrated between a 35% and 50% reduction in bycatch.  These BRDs have now been installed across the seabob trawl fleet.  Ongoing and planned research work now focuses on further reducing bycatch, but in particular the capture of rays, some species of which are categorised as ETP. 

It had been planned to enter the seabob fishery into full MSC assessment during 2014, but administrative difficulties in securing the importation, customs release and installation of VMS equipment, and knock-on impacts on application and implementation of the agreed management plan, meant this schedule had to be delayed.  As of April 1st 2015 any fishery entering into MSC assessment is required to be assessed against revised Fisheries Certification Requirements (CR2) – which includes significantly increased evidence requirements in relation to bycatch, habitat and ecosystem impacts.  Prior to this date, internal review of the progress of the Guyana seabob trawl fishery against the MSC Ps&Cs suggested it was still too soon to enter into full assessment (application of the Seabob Management Plan still needed to bed in, and a number of key elements of the plan needed to be formally supported in national legislation).  This now means that the fishery will need to be assessed against the revised requirements, CR2.  As a result of this, new research needs to be planned and undertaken to address evidence deficiencies relating to management of bycatch, habitat and ecosystem impacts, and design and undertaking of such research is now a priority.  This is now being addressed.