The food retailer will become the first to place a strong emphasis on the health and safety of fishermen supplying its seafood, as part of its work with Seafish.
For the first time, any boats fishing for Morrisons will have to sign up to a range of measures to ensure anyone working on them is safe on board.
The policy is attempting to raise awareness of an important issue in an industry which sees 12 people die at work each year in the UK alone. It is expected that every boat supplying Morrisons will be signed up to the commitment by next year.
Morrisons has also worked with Seafish to carry out a full assessment of all of the 525 UK boats supplying its fish, ensuring it has greater traceability than ever before.
The retailer will also be setting standards on the handling of different species, labelling, traceability, storage and cleaning.
Seafish developed RFS to raise standards in the catching sector. The scheme was created in response to the needs of the seafood supply chain and its aim is to become a condition of supply.
The RFS independently audits and assesses the application of good practice by a vessel skipper and crew in their fishing operations. It covers four key areas:
- Fishing practices
- Vessel criteria
- Crew competence
- Environmental considerations
Huw Thomas, Morrisons Fisheries and Aquaculture Manager, said: "We've worked closely with Seafish to develop our seafood policy as part of the Responsible Fishing Scheme.
"We think it's extremely important to ensure that we've put in place a minimum set of standards across the board, particularly in relation to health and safety which is an area often neglected in the seafood industry."
Mick Bacon, Seafish's Responsible Fishing Scheme Training and Accreditation Adviser, said: "The Responsible Fishing Scheme benefits the whole supply chain and ensures a quality product reaches the end consumer.
Morrisons' decision to work with the RFS is testament to the success of Seafish's responsible sourcing programmes.
"Crew competencies and training, along with vessel standards and hygiene are key to RFS and complement Seafish's wider priorities to ensure a safer industry and the capture of high quality seafood from some of the best vessels and crews in the UK fleet. This partnership sets a precedent for those within the seafood supply chain to demonstrate their commitment to the responsible sourcing of seafood."
Vessel owners and operators can find out more about becoming RFS accredited by contacting Mick Bacon at Seafish (email@example.com) or at http://rfs.seafish.org/.