Applying for certification to the RFPS Large Ports Standard

There are six steps involved in the process of a large port applying to be certified to the Large Ports Standard, see below

Step 1: Eligibility 

Only large ports are eligible to apply to be certified to the RFPS Standard for Large Ports. These are ports where fish is sold by auction or the port undertakes fish sales directly. For more information on eligibility, see Large Ports Standard.

Step 2: Contact Acoura (Certification Body) 

Eligible large fishing ports wishing to apply to be certified to the RFPS should contact Acoura in the first instance. Acoura is the Certification Body that will audit applicant ports. They will provide all the necessary details relating to the application process.

Acoura can be contacted on:

Tel: 0131 335 6613

Step 3 - As part of your initial application you should provide as much information as possible on the specific policies and procedures you have in place, see Documents to support your Application.

You might need also to complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). An MOU details the organisation(s) responsible for complying with each clause in the Large Ports Standard.

You will not need to submit an MOU with your application form, if you are the sole applicant. However, where your application is supported by co-applicants, they will need to complete and sign the MOU. More information about the MOU is provided on page 8 of the RFPS Standard for Large Ports available from the 'Donwloads' section of the Large Ports Standard page.

Step 4 - Acoura will undertake an off-site pre assessment based on the information provide in your application. The more information you provide with your application form, the better. The auditor uses the pre-assessment stage to reduce the amount of time to be spent on the on-site audit, thus reducing your costs. It also helps the auditor understand the port before the on-site audit, ensuring the audit will go more smoothly.

Step 5 - After completing the pre-assessment, Acoura will contact you to arrange the time and date of the on-site audit. Audits are expected to take a minimum of 1 day to complete and you will need to ensure the auditor has access to what they need to properly undertake the audit. This will be explained to you before they arrange the date of the on-site audit. At the end of the on-site audit, the auditor will explain any areas where you did not meet the requirements of the RFPS Standard. However they will not tell you if you are have achieved certification at this stage.

Step 6 - After the on-site audit, Acoura will produce an assessment report and reach a decision on whether or not your port will be certified. This report will be sent to you along with the certification decision. If you have passed, you will also be issued with a certificate. 

Application Costs (2018): large ports 

The initial certification comprises two components, each costed seperately: 

  • an off-site application and pre-assessment stage
  • a site visit expected to take one to one and a half days.  

As certification lasts for three years, additional annual costs will be incurred in the second and third year for a surveillance audit that checks whether a certified port is operating as expected. 

Cost Structure (2018) excluding VAT

Large Port:Level 3 and 4   Year 1  Year 2 Year 3
Application fee and pre assessment  £400    
Initial on-site audit and certification   £800 per day     
Surveillance    n/a £825 per day  £850 per day
Travel and subsistence (auditors) Costs charged at actual rate plus 10% admin fee


Application costs will be subject to an annual 3% increase.

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