Bob Carless – skipper of Manta Ray II

Bob Carless, 50 from Axmouth in East Devon has had an interest in fishing since he was 17 years old. Five years ago he started fishing commercially, specialising in Bass, Pollock and Cod and is now one of the first fishermen in the UK to be awarded the updated Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) certification.

Bob Carless RFS

On his boat, the Manta Ray II, which he mans single handedly, Bob uses the rod and line method of catching and considers sustainability a key issue. He said:

“I have always had a strong ‘care of the catch’ record and I saw the RFS certification as the perfect way to demonstrate that officially. When it comes to implementing policy and setting standards to help address the issues affecting our industry, Seafish has always led the charge.”

“When I applied for the original version of the RFS I was attracted by the opportunity to prove my commitment to sustainability to my customers, and with some retailers now expecting the certification as standard from its suppliers, signing up is now just a matter of good business sense. All of my invoices carry the RFS logo.”

When the next generation of RFS certification became available, Bob quickly signed up and was impressed with the new requirements and the thorough nature of the application process. He said:

“Because the new auditing process is so comprehensive, it really makes achieving the new certification something to be proud of. It also instantly adds to the profile of any vessel that completes it. Especially as the new qualification has an additional focus of the safety and wellbeing of crew members. Being one of the first vessels to qualify is a great feeling.”

While he was applying for RFS, Bob received support from Seafish to gain the certification, and the feedback on his audit experience will be used to improve the process and develop on-line support materials for future applications following this pilot audit process. He added:

“I was guided through the whole process and all of the measures I needed to have in place to gain the qualification were fully explained. That was a great help and massively put me at ease.”

“The fishing community I live and work in is very close, so I have been encouraging others to look into the new certification. Some of the older generation will need more encouragement, but once they see the benefits RFS can provide their businesses I’m certain they will get on board to help our UK industry become the most sustainable and responsible in the world.”