Internationalisation

The Responsible Fishing Scheme is moving to a new home as part of a ground-breaking international initiative helping provide assurance to the whole seafood supply chain.

The RFS is the only scheme that certifies high standards of crew welfare and responsible catching practices on board fishing vessels. The scheme is currently only open to UK registered vessels.

In 2017, Seafish launched a public procurement exercise to find a not-for-profit entity to operate, manage and deliver the RFS on a global scale. Now, an agreement has been signed to migrate the RFS to the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s new Global Seafood Assurances programme.

What is happening, and why?  

As part of the agreement with Seafish, GAA will establish a not-for-profit Global Seafood Assurances 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 to operate, manage and deliver the RFS on a global scale, whilst maintaining the ethos of the robust standard that has been developed “by industry, for industry”, in conjunction with relevant NGOs. Tuesday’s announcement will enable the RFS to reach its full potential as part of this ground-breaking international initiative helping provide assurance to the whole seafood supply chain.

When will this new entity be up and running?

The transition period to migrate the management and oversight of the RFS to the GSA will commence on 1 May 2018 and conclude no later than 1 May 2020. 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 Version 2 of the RFS standard, to ensure compliance with ILO Work in Fishing Convention (ILO 188).

What does this mean for current RFS members?

Current members of the RFS will see no change in how their scheme is operated in the medium term and it is business as usual for the UK fleet joining the scheme. Our focus over the 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. Acoura, part of the Lloyd’s Register group, will continue to act as scheme’s Certification Body.

How will Seafish continue to be involved in the RFS after the transition period?

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.