Responsible Fishing Scheme to move to new home as Seafish signs Memorandum of Understanding with the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA)

24 April 2018

Following extensive discussions between the parties, an MoU has been signed today that outlines a transition period to migrate the Seafish RFS to the GAA's newly established Global Seafood Assurances (GSA) programme. This period will commence on 1 May 2018 and conclude no later than 1 May 2020.

As part of the agreement with Seafish, GAA will establish the not-for-profit GSA Programme, which will bring together a network of standards to ensure all aspects of the wild seafood supply chain are covered, with the RFS a key standard in this new suite.

During 2017, following a decision by the Seafish Board, Seafish launched a public procurement exercise to find a not-for-profit entity that could operate, manage and deliver the RFS on a global scale, whilst maintaining the ethos of a robust standard that has been developed "by industry, for industry" in conjunction with relevant NGOs.

The successful  bidder was the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), which owns a renowned 3rd party global standard, Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification scheme. The GAA have a vision to address the gap that currently exists in the availability of credible third party certification schemes that provide assurance for wild fisheries supply chains.

During this transition phase, Seafish will retain responsibility for the ongoing management and delivery of the RFS in the UK, whilst Seafish and the GSA will work collaboratively to develop the RFS standard to version 2, to ensure ILO 188 compliance. In order to maintain the ethos of the RFS standard moving forward, Seafish will hold a seat on the GSA Board.

Following transition, Seafish will also have the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing development of the standard through its membership of the GSA's vessel standard Technical Advisory Board.

 Marcus Coleman, Seafish CEO, said:

"We are thrilled to have reached this agreement with the GAA and its new Global Seafood Assurances Programme. We are confident that the Programme will be able to deliver and grow the RFS both in the UK and on a global scale.

"Seafish is excited to be involved in this ground-breaking international initiative helping provide assurance to the whole seafood supply chain. Our focus over this transition period is to continue to support current RFS members in the UK and to encourage even more vessels across the UK fleet to join this landmark scheme."

Wally Stevens, Executive Director of GAA, said:

"GAA is honoured to have been granted this opportunity to work with Seafish and our respective global partners to further develop and implement credible vessel standards, particularly as relates to labour issues.  We applaud the good work which Seafish has led in developing the RFS scheme and look to see this program increasingly adopted in the UK, while using the program to inform vessel standards development around the world."