Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme

Seafish and the British Ports Association Fishing Ports Group (BPAFPG) are working together to develop a new certification scheme for commercial fishing ports and auctions in order to improve transparency and raise standards. The scheme is underpinned by a Code of Practice (CoP) that details good operational practices and Standards against which fishing ports/harbours will be assessed.

The Responsible Fishing Port Scheme (RFPS) Standards will provide assurance to seafood sellers and buyers that all certified or engaged fishing ports and auctions are acting in a responsible manner with the seafood landed and sold through the market. The standards cover five core areas; 

  • Food Safety and Structural Integrity
  • Working Environment
  • Care for the Environment
  • Care of the Catch, and
  • Seafood Traceability.  

The rationale behind the standards comes from an increasing need for assurances of transparency across the full seafood supply chain and the fishing port, and auctions were identified as an area that would benefit from guidance on industry accepted best practice.

In 2015, Seafish and the BPAFPG consulted a range of fishing ports and the supply chain across the UK to canvass their views and discuss how the standards should be developed to provide benefits to all sectors. 

The standards will complement other standards recognising best practice within the industry including the Responsible Fishing Scheme which has been redeveloped by Seafish to certify fishing vessels demonstrating best practice in catching methods and crew welfare.  It is envisaged that the Responsible Fishing Port Standards will bridge the perceived traceability gap between the fish being landed and processed, and boost the reputation of the fishing ports sector.

The first phase of the work has focussed on developing the first version of standard for large ports, which has been approved through the Governance Structure.  The next stage in progressing the scheme, phase two,  is to develop a standard for small ports. This will be progressed through a small ports sub-committee which will be created as part of the overall Governance Structure.

Governance Structure 

The RFPS has a robust governance structure designed to ensure the standards created are fit for purpose.

Learn more about the RFPS Governance Structure


Date Activity
June 2018 Oversight Board approved the Auditor Guidance and associated supporting application documentation
April 2018 Development of audit documentation and certification processes
March 2018 Certification Body (Acoura Marine) approved to audit applicant ports
February  2018 Seafish Board approve standard (draft 4) to become version one of final standard
February 2018 TC/OB approve standard (draft 4) following modification after public consultation
Dec 2017-Jan 2018 Completion of Public Consultation (60 days)
November 2017 TC and OB approve draft standard (draft 3) modified following pilot audits
November 2017 Four pilot audits completed
September 2017  Four pilot audits started to evaluate the relevance of the draft Standard (to be completed in November)
July 2017 Oversight Board approved Draft Standard
January 2017 Technical Committee reviewed Standard (draft 2)
November 2016       Development audits undertaken to trial Standard
October 2016 Second Code of Practice first draft of Standard reviewed by Technical Committee
September 2016 First drafts of Code of Practice and Standard developed
July 2016    Technical Committee review draft Code of Practice
March 2016  Core Modular Framework agreed
January 2016 Oversight Board established
August 2015 BPA Fishing Ports Group (BPAFPG) ratify initiaitve
June 2015 Scoping Study completed (3 month)
April 2015 Start of project

For further information, please contact:

Marcus Jacklin
Project Manager
Tel: 01472 252 340