Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS)
New Metrics


How do we know if the food system is sustainable, efficient, fair, economically viable or resilient? What are the important indicators? Environmental health, community and family conditions, health care, tax revenue, profitability, school access, free trade, poverty, malnutrition or rule of law?

What are the key factors influencing success (or failure)? Regulations, leadership, eduation, innovation, consumer behavior, market structure?

Which investments will have the greatest impact in promoting sustainable food systems? Infrastructure, genetic research, disease control, market analysis, community structure, information technology, eduation?

To answer these questions, and many more, we need indictators and metrics. Many of which are not currently collected in a consistent manner by any institution.

What are we doing to address these challenges?

THE FISHERIES PERFORMANCE INDICATORS PROJECT: ISFS researchers, James Anderson, Taryn Garlock and Frank Asche are working with researchers at Univ. of Washington, The World Bank and several other institutions to develop Fishery Performance Indicators. The FPIs are designed to determine how fisheries management systems are performing in order to achieve community, economic, and ecological sustainability.

They are are a rapid assessment instrument designed to capture how fishery resources are contributing to the wealth being of the people and communities that depend on them, and to document factors supporting wealth generation. It includes 67 measures to assess wealth accumulation on 11 dimensions of stock, harvest industry performance, and post-harvest industry performance; and 54 measures of enabling factors--including management and governance—to associate with variation in outcomes. The researchers task is to score each measure accurately, but not necessarily precisely, and to track the degree of confidence in each measure’s score. Each measure is scored on a one-to-five scale using data where possible, but relying primarily on non-quantitative factors that can be scored by experts in any fishery or fishery sector. This feature makes it particularly well suited to applications in data-poor countries or industry sectors. READ >

Fishery Performance Indicators Manual >

The Fishery Performance Indicators for California and Indonesia Fisheries