Sourcing seafood - empowering businesses to make more informed choices and manage reputational risk

Posted by Alex Caveen, Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood (RASS) Manager on 19 November 2015

Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood (RASS) Manager, Dr Alex Caveen, explains how Seafish's RASS website can enable businesses to make informed seafood sourcing decisions, following an MCS (Marine Conservation Society) and Fish2fork report, which criticises a number of restaurant chains for their sourcing policies and information sharing.

Watch the RASS tutorial video to find out what it has to offer.

Foodservice businesses can use the RASS website to access vital information about sourcing different marine species from different catching methods and sea areas, enabling them to make their own decisions and manage their reputational risk.

RASS is free to use and has been developed to help seafood buyers and sellers make informed decisions about their seafood purchasing, based on risk scoring and evidence. RASS contains over 300 wild fishery profiles, providing comprehensive information on the environmental impact of the fisheries most important to the UK market.

Rather than telling businesses which seafood to buy, RASS profiles provide risk scores for individual fishery stock levels, stock management, bycatch, and the habitat impact, informed by the latest scientific evidence. A business can also dig down deeper into the data underpinning the scores to improve their understanding of the risks.

Read the Fish2fork and MCS report.

The tool has been up and running for a year, and has been developed for all buyers of seafood supplying the UK market to use, regardless of size and sector. Updated annually, it provides the "real time" information at a fishery level to enable seafood buyers to make informed sourcing decisions and develop responsible sourcing strategies.

Foodservice businesses can find out what risks are associated with sourcing different species from different locations, and make their own decisions with confidence, based on that scientific information.

An additional advantage of RASS is that it puts all the information needed in one place, meaning that business owners don't need to look through a range of reports and websites of information, which saves them time and money. Nutrition data for a range of different species has also been recently added.

Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood.

The provision of information on the environmental aspects of wild capture fisheries is just the start. Over the next year there will be an inclusion of a social ethics element which will further inform businesses and stakeholders in the UK seafood industry on issues such as the incidences of slavery occurring on fishing vessels.

RASS aquaculture profiles are also being developed to outline the key risks associated with the farming of the main aquaculture species (e.g. Atlantic salmon, and warm water prawn), such as feed issues, chemical use, and environmental impacts. RASS Aquaculture profiles will also incorporate information on current aquaculture standards.

Some forward-thinking businesses are already using RASS to inform their purchasing decisions and influence their menus, and there is plenty of potential for more to enjoy the benefits of RASS as the scope of content continues to grow.

Related reading:

Papa's Fish and Chips use RASS to create a new menu

Regal Fish adopts RASS

Waitrose uses RASS alongside in-house procedures

Young's and RASS