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Project Work Plan


In 2012, the Hawaii Seafood Council began reporting on fishery improvements.

The Hawaii pelagic longline fisheries were evaluated for sustainability against the Marine Stewardship Council standard in 2009, 2013 and 2014.  Findings were discussed with fishery stakeholders and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.


Summary of pre-assessment scoring

Principle Component PI number Performance Indicator 2009 Score 2014 Score
1 Outcome 1.1.1 Stock status Bigeye “around 80 ”, Swordfish >80, page 55 Bigeye WCPO 60-80 and EPO 80, Swordfish 80
1.1.2 Reference points 60-80, page 56 80
1.1.3 Stock rebuilding N/A N/A
Management 1.2.1 Harvest Strategy 60-80, page 57 80
1.2.2 Harvest control rules and tools “around 80”, page 57 80
1.2.3 Information and monitoring 80, page 58 80
1.2.4 Assessment of stock status >80, page 58 80-100
2 Retained species 2.1.1 Outcome 80, looked only at yellowfin, page 59 80, looked at yellowfin, striped and blue marlin
2.1.2 Management 60-80 page 60 80
2.1.3 Information 60-80, page 60 80
Bycatch species 2.2.1 Outcome 60-80 (certifier missed info), page 61 80
2.2.2 Management 60, page 60 80
2.2.3 Information 60-80, page 60 80
ETP species 2.3.1 Outcome 80, page 61 80
2.3.2 Management 80-100, page 61 80-100
2.3.3 Information 80-100, page 61 80-100
Habitats 2.4.1 Outcome 100, page 62 100
2.4.2 Management 80-100, page 62 80-100
2.4.3 Information >80, page 62 80
Ecosystem 2.5.1 Outcome 60-80, page 63 60-80
2.5.2 Management 60-80, page 63 80
2.5.3 Information 80, page 63 80
3 Governance and Policy 3.1.1 Legal and customary framework >80, page 64 80-100
3.1.2 Consultation, roles and responsibilities 80, page 65 80-100p
3.1.3 Long term objectives 80 approaching 100, page 65 80-100
3.1.4 Incentives for sustainable fishing 60, page 65 80
Fishery specific management system 3.2.1 Fishery specific objectives 80, page 66 100
3.2.2 Decision making processes 80, page 66 80
3.2.3 Compliance and enforcement 80-100, page 67 80-100
3.2.4 Research plan 60-80, page 67 80
3.2.5 Management performance evaluation 60-80, page 67 80


The annual longline quota for the US was 3763 MT for 2013 and 2014 and shall be reduced to 3345 MT in 2017. Management initiatives were taken in 2013 and 2014 to reduce overfishing also on EPO yellowfin, swordfish, striped and blue marlin (more information is provided in the following table). Blue sharks caught by the fishery are returned to the ocean alive with a 94-96% survival rate. The population of false killer whales encountered by the Hawaii longline fishery is protected under NOAA’s Take Reduction Plan.


Advancement on spatially distinguished management is needed to reduce overfishing on the bigeye tuna stock in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The Scientific and Statistical Committee of the WCPFC will study the spatial distribution of WCPO bigeye tuna with otolith stable isotopes to support a spatially based management approach in the WCPO. The SSC recommended that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council advocate for spatially distinguished management in Conservation and Management Measures to the WCPFC by the US delegation (SSC 2013). The Hawaii fishery will support this advancement with catch data, gear advances, and programming.
FIP STAGE, as of 19 February 2015:

Activity Deliverables Completed FIP Stage
FIP terms are agreed to by participants Decision to complete a new MSC pre-assessment March 2013 1-2
Sustainability of the fishery is evaluated against the MSC standard 2009 MSC pre-assessment is updated for 2013
MSC pre-assessment is wholly redone in 2014
June 2013
August 2014
Improvements are made to close gaps to 80 scores for the fishery for all 31 indicators of the MSC standard. Step 1: Fishery scientists are engaged in the evaluation. The original 2009 pre-assessment was rescored in 2013 and additionally a deep analysis was completed for all scores lower than 80.
Fishery scientists provided information missing in the original assessment leading to score increases for 1.1.2, 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.2.3, 3.2.4, 3.2.5 to 80 up from 60-80, due to target reference points for bigeye. Also the management regime was clarified for retained species without stock assessment, for example:
The National Marine Fisheries Service has adopted procedures and timing for specifying annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for western Pacific fisheries in Final Rule 76 FR 37285. The final rule is intended to help end and prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, and achieve optimal yield. Catch per unit effort of all retained species is monitored through federal programs. Where there is an indication of overfishing or that a species is overfished, the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Western and Pacific Fishery Management Council may publish an opinion that leads to catch constraints, as for striped marlin in 2013. This may lead to a request for a new conservation and management measure at the level of the regional fishery management organization or to support for sustaining an existing measure, as needed to reverse overfishing trends (Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council 2013). Reference: MSC indicator 2.1.2
The population of false killer whales encountered by the Hawaii longline fishery is protected under NOAA’s Take Reduction Plan. Reference: MSC indicator 2.2.1
Blue sharks caught on the longline gear are returned to the ocean alive with survival rate estimated at 80-95%. There has also been a 50% reduction in shark catch in the longline fishery. In the Hawaii-based fishery, unwanted sharks are quickly released by cutting lines, leaders or hooks — sharks are not gaffed and hoisted aboard, to avoid wasting time while the crew processes the target species (Musyl et al 2009). Reference: MSC indicator 2.2.2
May 2013 3
Improvements are made to close gaps to 80 scores for the fishery for all 31 indicators of the MSC standard. Step 2: the fishery is improved with new rules to reduce overfishing. MSC pre-assessment in 2014 found a score decrease for MSC indicator 1.1.1 and increases for 1.1.2, 1.2.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, 2.5.1, 2.5.2, 3.1.4
Examples of fishery improvements supporting fishery improvements in 2014:
2013 results indicate a recent recovery trend for bigeye tuna in the EPO (2005-2010), subsequent to IATTC tuna conservation resolutions initiated in 2004. Reference: MSC indicator 1.1.1
NMFS adopted regulations to meet its responsibilities to WCPFC in Final Rule 75 RR 3335 on January 21, 2010 and to IATTC in Final Rule 76 FR 68332 ion November 4, 2011. NMFS capped catches for WCPO bigeye tuna and swordfish respectively in Final Rule 78 FR 58240 on September 23, 2013 in Final RULE 77 FR 43721 on July 26, 2012. Reference: MSC indicator 1.2.1
The allowable number of swordfish in the deep-set tuna segment of the Hawaii longline fishery was limited for trips North of the Equator in 2012. Final Rule 77 FR 43721 revises the definition of deep-set longline fishing to be consistent with the swordfish retention limits. The intention of the rule is to reduce regulatory discards and optimize the yield of swordfish. Reference: MSC indicator 1.2.1
Considering the fully exploited status of yellowfin tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, and in advance of a new stock assessment being completed, as an interim measure, the IATTC recently recommended adoption of the following target and limit reference points (IATTC 2014). Reference: MSC indicator 2.1.2
In 2010, the WCPFC adopted a measure directing WCPFC countries to reduce the total catches of North Pacific striped marlin in a phased reduction that by Jan. 1, 2013, the catch would be at 80 percent of the levels caught in 2000 to 2003. US Pacific fisheries scientists met in June 2013, under the auspices of the Western Pacific Fishery Council, to discuss what new measures are needed to sustain the stock of striped marlin. Reference: MSC indicator 2.1.2
August 2014 3-5
Hawaii Seafood Council shares findings with fishery stakeholders Senior fishery scientists reviewed the assessment and offered feedback and comments. Stakeholders reviewed findings to decide what to do. December 2014 2
Recommendation from third party Fishery stakeholders should support all efforts to reduce population-level fishing impacts to sustain WCP bigeye tuna and pelagic food webs. Gaps to 80 are met currently. Scores have been verified by a third party evaluator and through peer review. The fishery will be re-assessed in Fall 2015 August 2014 5

STAGE ZERO – FIP Identification
During the identification stage, a target fishery that may benefit from a fishery improvement project is identified and a supply chain analysis is conducted to understand who else is involved in the fishery and what market leverage exists.
STAGE ONE – FIP Development
During the development stage, the fishery’s performance is evaluated against the MSC standard and stakeholders are recruited to participate in the project. The development stage includes:

  • An assessment of the fishery’s environmental performance.

Basic fishery improvement projects conduct a needs assessment that covers the three principle areas of the MSC standard to determine environmental challenges and improvements needed in the fishery. We recommend basic projects conduct an MSC pre-assessment as their needs assessment if they anticipate transitioning to a comprehensive project in the future.
Comprehensive fishery improvement projects conduct an MSC pre-assessment to determine where the fishery falls short of the MSC standard.

  • A scoping document completed by a consultant.

For basic fishery improvement projects, a scoping document summarizes the results of the needs assessment and recommends strategies for addressing the fishery’s challenges. Either the needs assessment or the scoping document must be made public.
For comprehensive fishery improvement projects, a scoping document summarizes the results of the pre-assessment and recommends strategies for addressing the fishery’s challenges. Either the pre-assessment or the scoping document must be made public. The scoping document must be completed or audited by an entity experienced with applying the MSC standard.

(Note: if the needs assessment or MSC pre-assessment includes a summary of results and recommended strategies for addressing the fishery’s challenges, the fishery improvement project need not complete the additional scoping document.)

  • A stakeholder mapping and engagement process. Identify which parties are the most relevant to the fishery improvement project. Consider the full range of stakeholders who will be impacted by the project or have a role in making changes to address environmental challenges in the fishery. Determine who needs to become a participant in the fishery improvement project, including government representatives, industry (fishermen, processors, exporters, etc.), environmental NGOs, and the scientific community.

We encourage fishery improvement projects to make the process for adding participants transparent. Additionally, we encourage projects at the development stage to determine whether other improvement projects exist within the same fishery and to collaborate where possible rather than duplicate existing efforts.

During the launch stage, the project participants and workplan are finalized and made public. The launch stage includes:

  • Confirmation of project participants. A memorandum of understanding or list of fishery improvement project participants is posted publicly.
  • Participant meeting. The fishery improvement project participants meet in-person to discuss the assessment and determine a course of action to meet them.
  • Development of the workplan. Based on the assessment, scoping document, and participant input, the fishery improvement project develops a workplan with activities that will help it correct the deficiencies necessary to achieve its objectives. For a comprehensive fishery improvement project, the workplan must be developed with someone experienced with applying the MSC standard.

A workplan must include:

  • Objectives. We recommend objectives focus on a time frame of five years (or less). For basic fishery improvement projects, objectives will address a specific set of the environmental challenges identified in the needs assessment to improve the fishery’s performance against the MSC standard. For comprehensive fishery improvement projects, objectives will address all the fishery’s environmental challenges necessary to achieve a level of sustainability consistent with an unconditional pass of the MSC standard. We recommend all fishery improvement projects work toward including traceability as part of their objectives.
  • A list of activities.


  • Responsible parties. Organizations/people responsible for completing each activity.
  • Timeframes. An estimate of the timeframe needed to complete each activity and milestone (e.g., January 2015 – June 2015).
  • Metrics and key performance indicators. Milestones to enable the project participants to track progress, or lack thereof, over time and to communicate about the changes in the fishery.
  • An associated budget. Costs and funding opportunities for each activity as appropriate. There are generally two sets of costs: (1) process costs (e.g., costs associated with developing the scoping document, holding stakeholder meetings, developing the workplan), and (2) implementation costs (e.g., costs for the fishery to actually make changes). One or more parties in the supply chain will be responsible for the costs.

During this stage, the workplan must be made public and the budget must be adopted by participants (although the budget details need not be made public). When developing the workplan, we recommend assessing risks that may impact the ability of the fishery to make progress as planned.
STAGE THREE – FIP Implementation
During the implementation stage, the fishery starts taking action toward addressing its shortcomings and begins tracking its progress. This stage includes:

  • Implementing activities in the workplan and consistent engagement with regulators on these activities.
  • Tracking and reporting on progress. Basic and comprehensive fishery improvement projects self-report their progress on implementing their workplans publicly every six months (or more frequently if appropriate). Progress reporting must include public evidence of activities completed. Once the Alliance FIP tracking website is operational, it will be the vehicle for public reporting.

Annually, the Conservation Alliance will conduct a review of progress reporting for all fishery improvement projects listed on the Alliance FIP tracking website.
Every three years, comprehensive fishery improvement projects must arrange for an independent, in-person audit of activity results and performance against the MSC standard (e.g., changes in fisheries policy, management, or fishing practices and ultimately the health of the fishery) by someone who has demonstrated experience applying the MSC standard (e.g., is a registered MSC technical consultant or accredited auditing body) and is independent from the organization implementing the fishery improvement project.

  • Course correcting if needed. If a fishery improvement project does not achieve the milestones in its workplan within the specified timeline, the project should report the reasons milestones were missed and update the workplan to reflect adjusted milestones and deadlines.

STAGE FOUR – Improvements in Fishing Practices or Fishery Management
In this stage, fishery improvement projects document any demonstrated improvements based on implementation of the workplan. Improvements in this stage include:

  • Improvements in policy or management or modifications in fishing practices.
  • Increases in scores for MSC performance indicators focused on management or information.

STAGE FIVE – Improvements on the Water
In this stage, fishery improvement projects document any demonstrated improvements on the water. Improvements in this stage include:

  • Increases in scores for MSC performance indicators focused on outcomes.
  • Verifiable change on the water, such as a reduction in fishing mortality, an increase in biomass of the target stock, a reduction in habitat impact, etc.

Note: Stages Four and Five are not necessarily sequential. These stages evaluate the fishery improvement project on two different sets of outcomes. Both stages may not be required with every fishery improvement project.