The session was supported by Seafish and led by Lloyd’s Register and Global Seafood Assurances (GSA), who will be the Standard holder for the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS) from May onwards. The training marked an important first step in establishing auditor capacity for the RFVS, the next iteration of the Responsible Fishing Scheme.
The RFVS has been developed using a robust standard development process over 18 months with input from all sectors of the seafood industry from across the UK and internationally. It has a greater focus on crew welfare and will be underpinned by two core principles:
- Vessel Management and Safety Systems, and
- Crew Rights, Safety and Wellbeing.
The key objective of the RFVS is to enable fishing vessel operations to provide third party assurance of decent working conditions for the crew by demonstrating operational best practice from the catch to the quay.
Because of the increased focus on crew welfare, auditors who specialise in social auditing are being trained in fishing operations in order to audit the RFVS. The inaugural session in Peterhead provided auditors from the Association of Professional Social Compliance (APSCA) with an introduction to the RFVS, focusing on fishing vessel operations. A key part of the training was the practical field trips, where auditors were able to board fishing vessels and visit the Peterhead Fish Market.
Helen Duggan, Head of RFS Transition at Seafish said: “The auditor training in Peterhead marks an exciting milestone in the development of the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard. Holding training in Peterhead allowed the auditors to complement the in-classroom training with valuable hands-on experience on board fishing vessels and we’d like to thank the skippers for taking the time to host the auditors.
“Seafish remains committed to supporting the implementation of the RFVS in the UK and will be supporting current RFS members during their transition to the new standard”.
Melanie Siggs, European Director at Global Seafood Assurances said: “We are delighted that the first auditor training has taken place and we can now move forward to the Vessel Certification Pilots. We will continue to work closely with Seafish to facilitate the smooth transition to the RFVS for current RFS members and the UK seafood industry.”
The RFVS draft standard is currently going through the final stages of approval and is due to be released in late spring 2020.