Beginning of the Fisheries Innovation Platform
The Fisheries Innovation Platform (FIP) is a three-year project that was established by the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality in November 2006. It was set up to encourage innovation towards a sustainable and profitable development of the North Sea fisheries sector and the related supply chain.
The Platform provides encouragement and support to entrepreneurs throughout the fisheries supply chain who wish to innovate while taking economic, ecological as well as societal facets into account.
The Fisheries Innovation Platform has ten members who represent various sectors of society, including research, NGO’s, politics, government and the fisheries industry. The platform is supported by an advisory group containing fishermen.
The Fisheries Innovation Platform counsels the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality on the eligibility of individual companies or projects to financial support. It also identifies promising developments, innovations and ambitions for North Sea fisheries and its related supply chain.
In the short term, the Platform supports innovation aimed at saving costs and energy, reducing the impact on natural environments and increasing product quality and profitability. The Platform deems it important that fisheries and related supply chain partners co-operate towards innovation and interact with stakeholders in the wider society.
In the long term, the Fisheries Innovation Platform aims to initiate a debate on the future of fisheries and to come up with new ideas and solutions.
The Platform encourages and supports tangible initiatives delivering short-term results, while at the same time aiming for long-term targets.
Ambitions Dutch North Sea Fisheries
The sea: our ecological and economic capital
In 2025, fishermen have come to see the sea as an economic asset—the kind of asset that needs proper management to let it keep its long-term value. The fish market’s supply side has changed considerably. Fleet, capacity and fishing techniques are continuously adjusted to maintain a sustainable ecological balance. The same is true for fishing areas, the number of days vessels spend at sea and the species that are captured. Fishermen are no longer seen as hunters of the sea but as responsible stewards. Fisheries no longer depend on a very limited number of species. What is currently seen as worthless and unintended by-catch will then be considered a rich harvest, its potential fully exploited. In 2025, many interests will be competing for space at sea, just as they now do on land, and fisheries will play a central role in such discussions.
Value creation is key
In 2025, the fishing industry fully exploits fundamentally favourable market conditions: a large and growing demand for seafood combined with a limited supply. Rather than providing commodities, the fisheries sector will offer a wide range of highend products with strong market identities. Value creation, driven by concepts like ‘delicacy’, ‘specialty’ and ‘caught in the wild’, will be key, cost saving will play a less dominant role. Fish will enjoy a strong and positive image that is based on sustainable production methods that take animal welfare into account. Like any high-end product on the market, seafood cannot afford to have a reputation of not being sustainable. The sector employs sophisticated marketing concepts and invests continuously in product innovation. Fisheries sectors elsewhere will follow these examples because markets require them to do so.
To be successful in the long run, companies have to know how to take advantage of developments elsewhere. Only those that do will be able to turn threats into new opportunities and into new business. In 2025, fishermen have become versatile maritime entrepreneurs who combine fishing with additional maritime business activities, fully exploiting the sector’s strengths and expertise in areas such as recreational services, healthcare, the ability to harvest many different fish species and strong links with fish farming and other offshore activities. Once perceived as members of a closed community, in 2025 fishermen have an open and innovative mindset and have forged relationships with other economical sectors. A healthy, broad-based business sector has established itself with the ability to take ecological resources into account. Economically, the sector has become largely independent from government funding.
Towards new energy
According to Dennis Meadows, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an honorary member of the Club of Rome, world oil production will peak around 2015. After that, demand will continue to rise while supply slowly declines. In the long run, decreasing fossil fuel prices are therefore highly unlikely; on the contrary, further price increases should be anticipated. In 2025, the fisheries sector will have succeeded in making an energy transition, having reduced its use of fossil fuels by 90 percent. The sector has radically changed its thinking on energy consumption, using expertise and innovations from other sectors. The fisheries sector serves as a model for the shipping industry as a whole.