How does RASS work?

Risk assessments are a tool used to communicate the implications of uncertainty for decision-making, and RASS uses risk assessments to provide assurance to a buyer that the seafood they are sourcing has tolerable risks.

RASS scores risk on a five-point scale of 1 (very low risk) to 5 (very high risk) for each of the four components (stock, management, bycatch, and habitat) (for detail see here). For the purpose of simplicity and transparency we have avoided going down the route of basing RASS on complicated scoring systems used by other schemes. Identifying a component as a high risk does not necessarily mean a fishery is unsustainable (due to the inherent uncertainty with some assessments), but will make a seafood buyer aware of the impacts of the fishery that may be of concern to their customers or a third party (i.e. NGO) and a potential reputational hazard.

RASS is overseen by an external steering group. Incorporating a wider stakeholder community into the RASS system encourages dialogue and knowledge exchange between the range of stakeholder groups interested in sustainable fisheries. This has three main advantages: firstly, stakeholders can provide feedback on the content of profiles and provide evidence that may have initially been overlooked; secondly, they can provide feedback on the risk-scoring mechanisms allowing further calibration and refinement; and thirdly, this creates a more transparent and inclusive basis for decision-making that could be achieved by expert judgement alone, that importantly, will allow a common-understanding of issues to develop.

RASS diagram