Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, today launches the Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme (RFPS) and is calling on suitable ports to apply.
The RFPS is a voluntary programme developed by industry to certify responsible food safety and operational practices within fishing ports.
It will allow fishing ports and organisations that operate within them to demonstrate they are following good practice, and will comprise two standards - one for large and one for small ports.
The scheme is now open for applications from fishing ports with an auction or direct sale function (large ports) that wish to be certified, to demonstrate their responsible operating credentials in the key areas of: Food Safety and Structural Integrity, Port and the Working Environment, Care for the Environment, Care of the Catch and Traceability.
The initial need for the scheme was identified by the British Ports Association Fishing Ports Group (BPAFPG) in 2015 as part of Seafish's 'ports and auctions' work at the time. A scoping exercise completed in 2015 demonstrated supply chain support for the scheme which, in time, aims to dovetail with the Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS), giving confidence to customers that provenance and the chain of custody is complete.
Marcus Jacklin, Seafish Industry Issues and Insight,said:
"The commitment of industry stakeholders and their extensive collaboration with Seafish has been pivotal to the successful development of this groundbreaking scheme. This is a scheme developed by industry for industry and will assure the supply chain that certified ports are adhering to good operational standards."
Martyn Boyers, Chief Executive of Grimsby Fish Market, said:
"In my capacity as Chair of the British Ports Association Fishing Ports Group I am delighted to have been able to work with Seafish to deliver this scheme.
"The benefit to ports is multifaceted. The scheme has brought collaboration in the ports sector and allows us to benchmark our respective operations. This has led to information sharing in key areas such as traceability, technical and hygiene. The RFPS will help ensure that UK ports and harbours continue to be global leaders in good practice and I'd encourage all suitable large ports to apply."
During the development of RFPS it became evident that all types of fishing port could not be covered by a single standard, so the RFPS Oversight Board agreed that two standards should be developed. The Scheme is initially launched to cater for large ports; however, a separate standard for smaller ports will be developed.
The Standard for small ports will be completely tailored to the operations in small ports. Seafish are currently seeking volunteers from the supply chain, namely the small ports sector, to be part of the process to develop the standard for small ports. More details on that to follow.