Partner fishery selection criteria and process

Published: 19 August 2015
Last edited: 03 August 2017

To maximize SmartFish’s impact, we drew on empirical research and years of experience to establish fishery selection criteria. Fishery partners must:


           a) Be formally organized, with effective institutional structure (eg a cooperative) that includes mechanisms for decision-making, for enforcing group decisions and a collective understanding of and commitment and adherence to fishery sustainability principles;

           b) Have previously and formally adopted sustainability measures (eg: fishing reserves, daily catch quotas, or size limits);

           c) Target biologically resilient species.


We established an Impact Division within SmartFish to determine the elgigibility of potential fishery partners as well as to track the social, environmental and business performance of partners before, during and after our interventions. Please see Impact Evaluation building block for more information.


Education, training and other capacity development activities
Alliance and partnership development
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

Mexico's strong tradition for cooperatives coupled with legal and fiscal underpinnngs for them have resulted in among the strongest fishing cooperatives worldwide. We prefer to work with co-ops that have self organized to ahcieve strong social and environmental performance. However we are also happy to collaborate with groups that have been assisted by NGOs (eg COBI AC, Niparajá AC, and ProNatura Noroeste AC) to improve social and environmental performance enough to meet our strict criteria.

Lessons learned

Cutting corners on these criteria can create problems. While we would like our model to work for all fishers, if they are not formally organized, with effective institutional structure (eg a cooperative), our Value Rescue interventions cannot function.  


We thus partner with fisher groups that are already performing well socially and environmentally. Groups that are impriving are considered, and for this we depend on strong collaborations with NGOs that specialize in the improvement of coooperatives' social and environmental performance.