On-vessel participants taking part in Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard. Photo: GSA

The draught Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard has now been approved by Seafish and Global Seafood Assurance Boards.

The Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS) is the next generation to the standard previously known as the Responsible Fishing Scheme. Unlike its predecessor, the RFVS will have international recognition and managing the Standard will pass from Seafish to the Global Seafood Assurance (GSA) organisation in May 2020. 

Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive of Seafish and GSA Board member said “We are delighted to have the RFVS approved by both Boards and look forward to publicly releasing the Standard in partnership with GSA soon.”

Following nearly two years of robust process, the development of the RFVS has been guided by input from all sectors of the seafood industry from across the UK and internationally (catching, processing, retail, standard holder and NGOs.

The transparent process has been overseen by an independent Oversight Board and supported by technical working groups comprising over 30 seafood stakeholders. Using ILOc188 and other global conventions as a base, the draught standard went through three important steps ahead of its presentation to the Seafish and GSA board for sign off; firstly, it was scrutinised by the independent Oversight Board and international experts around the world; secondly, on-vessel consultation audits took place in the UK, the Faroe Islands, in Russia and in Peru, and finally, the draft went through a 60-day public consultation.

Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard

In the classroom. Some of the participants taking part in the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard

“It has been a privilege to work with my fellow oversight board members through such a rigorous, open and transparent process. RFVS certification is a great way for proud skippers to demonstrate how they look after their crew and their catch, so a big thank you to Seafish and GSA for your leadership,” Nigel Edwards, Group CSR Director Hilton Food Group

The first specialist auditor training took place in Scotland during February 2022 which was designed to upscale specialist auditors to the requirements of the new standard. The next steps are the Vessel Certification Pilots. These have been arranged in Russia, The Faroes and in the UK with further pilots being planned and SE Asia and South America.

“Building a standard to help address crew welfare on  fishing vessels around the world is an important first step in addressing a critical gap and seafood supply chain assurance,” Ally Dingwall, Aquaculture and Fisheries Manager at Sainsbury’s and GSA Board Member. “We need to acknowledge those working to Best Practice and identify those not yet working at that level.”

Source: Global Seafood Assurance