Seafish seek new organisation to manage & operate the Responsible Fishing Scheme

04 October 2017

Seafish is seeking to appoint a new not-for-profit entity to manage, operate and deliver the Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) as part of its commitment to grow the scheme internationally.  Relaunched by Seafish in January 2016, the RFS is a voluntary scheme that audits compliance on board commercial fishing vessels to certify best practice in responsible catching and the safety and welfare of crew. There are currently 100 UK fishing vessels fully RFS certified with many more currently going through the certification process.

An Invitation to Tender (ITT) has been published by Seafish in line with EU public procurement rules and regulations with the aim of having the new entity in place early next year.

The successful entity will have the right to generate income through the operation of the RFS but will be required to operate under a not-for-profit mandate. Any surplus generated must be reinvested in growing the scheme or lowering costs to the benefit of its customers.  Seafish will remain as the RFS standard owner and hold a seat on the board of the new entity, ensuring the original ethos of the Scheme is not lost.

Libby Woodhatch, Head of Advocacy at Seafish, who is leading on the procurement process, said: "In line with requests from the UK supply chain, Seafish is fully committed to the internationalisation of the RFS, but does not have the level of expertise or resources to help RFS reach its full potential globally. In the meantime, we are focused on growing RFS membership and support in the UK."

Seafish's commitment to making RFS a global scheme also includes a series of international pilots that are sourced, managed and funded by an International Working Group (IWG) which was set up earlier this year and includes industry members from the UK, New Zealand and the US. The international pilots are now underway and due to report back to the Seafish Board and the RFS Oversight Board by the end of this year. The results will contribute towards a revision of the standard next year.

The Invitation to Tender (ITT) remains open for a 30 day period from 2nd October. A clear evaluation and award process will be undertaken, with the contract award made in early December 2017. The ITT can be found on Public Contracts Scotland portal

Further information about RFS can be found at /rfs/