Seafish’s Responsible Fishing Scheme marks certification milestones

28 September 2017

Seafish's Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS), which recognises fishing vessels that demonstrate best practice in fishing operations and crew welfare, has certified its 100th vessel, marking a significant milestone for the scheme.

The 'Alison Kay', a whitefish vessel from Shetland owned by skipper James Anderson has met the strict standards set by the scheme, which is independently audited and backed by major supermarkets and food service providers, including M&S and Direct Seafoods.

James Anderson Alison Kay

Alison Kay skipper, James Anderson said: "Being the 100th certified RFS vessel is a proud moment for the Alison Kay, because it shows that looking after my crew is the priority while at sea. This qualification under the scheme both reassures my crew and those who buy my product know that I am doing everything within my power to have the safest voyages possible."

RFS has also welcomed its first entire fleet onto the scheme. Interfish, which operates out of the Port of Plymouth, now has all ten vessels in its fleet certified.   

Seafish RFS Interfish

The RFS, which is independently audited by specialist Certification Body, Acoura Marine, is the only scheme of its kind that checks compliance on board fishing vessels, including ethical and welfare criteria.

Launched in 2016 the Responsible Fishing Scheme requires vessels and skippers to demonstrate they are operating to industry recognised best practise in five core areas: health, safety and crew welfare, training and professional development, the vessel and its mission, care of the catch, and care for the environment.

The scheme provides skippers and vessel owners with an opportunity to be recognised for their dedication to a responsibly sourced catch and the safety and welfare of their crews.

To date 28 leading UK seafood processors, value-added manufacturers, retailers and food service suppliers have committed to incorporate the RFS into their sourcing policies, including Youngs Seafood, and Icelandic Seachill (owner of the Saucy Fish Co brand).

The RFS also aims to raise standards across fishing fleets and to help UK fishermen prepare to comply with the ILO C188 Work in Fishing Convention. Due to be implemented in 2018, ILO188 sets an international minimum standard regulating living and working conditions on board fishing vessels.

Aoife Martin, Operations Director at Seafish, said: "Achieving these two milestones shows the continued growth of the scheme, while the range of RFS members shows that certification is achievable for both large and small vessels, and that it's open to vessels across the country, from Shetland to Cornwall. Applying for the scheme is more straightforward than ever, and we would encourage all vessels that are adhering to best practice to apply to join this global standard."

Further information about RFS can be found on the RFS website