Applying for Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme certification — Seafish

Applying for Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme certification

There are six steps involved in the process of applying for Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme (RFPS) certification.

Step 1: Check eligibility 

Fishing ports are defined as premises that are registered with their local authority and provide some or all of:

  • facilities such as a quay to allow fishers to land their catch
  • facilities to handle and/or store the catch
  • facilities to conduct sales directly to the supply chain, either through direct sales or by auction

There is currently a restriction on the types of fishing port which can apply to be certified to the RFPS. Only ports where fish is sold by auction or the port undertakes fish sales directly are eligible to apply.

Step 2: Contact Lloyd’s Register

Lloyd’s Register is the certification body that audits RFPS applications. Eligible ports wishing to apply to be certified to the RFPS should contact Lloyd’s Register in the first instance. They will provide all the necessary details relating to the application process.

The RFPS co-ordinator is Gillian Irvine. She can be contacted on 0131 619 2104 or To find out more about them visit the Lloyd's Register website.

Step 3 – Preparing your application

When preparing your application, you should provide as much information as possible on your policies and procedures. Download our list of documents to support your application for further information on what you should include.

If your application is supported by co-applications you will also need to complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). An MOU details the organisations responsible for complying with each clause in the RFPS Standard. You will not need to submit an MOU with your application if you are the sole applicant.

Step 4 – Off-site pre-assessment

Lloyd’s Register will undertake an off-site pre-assessment based on the information provided in your application. This helps the auditor understand the port before the on-site audit, ensuring the audit will go more smoothly.

After completing the pre-assessment, Lloyd’s Register will contact you to arrange the time and date of the on-site audit.

Step 5 – On-site audit

On-site audits are expected to take a minimum of one day to complete. 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 whether you have achieved certification at this stage.

Step 6 – Assessment report

After the on-site audit, Lloyd’s Register 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

The initial certification comprises two components, each costed separately: 

  • the off-site application and pre-assessment stage
  • the 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. These costs are for a surveillance audit to check whether a certified port is operating as expected. 

The following table outlines the RFPS cost structure agreed in 2018. All costs are excluding VAT.

Fishing port with a sales facility

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Application and pre-assessment




Initial on-site audit and certification 

£900 per day



Surveillance audit


£900 per day

£900 per day

Travel and Subsistence (for auditors to attend on-site audits)

Costs charged at actual rate plus 10% admin fee

After 2022, application costs will be subject to an annual 3% increase.

Further info

To find out more about RFPS and download the full standard visit our Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme webpage.

If you're looking for more information about future developments of the Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme, email