The Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS), which was developed by Seafish in conjunction with BSi in 2006 to reward responsible fishing practises on vessels, is being updated to ensure it remains fit for purpose and helps the seafood industry work towards a more transparent and ethical supply chain.
The health and safety and welfare of fishermen have been added as key principles of the new standard, making it the only certification scheme to promote a culture of good welfare and good practice on vessels.
The modification of the current RFS standard has been developed in line with ISO 17065 accreditation requirements that will give the certification programme additional credibility and transparency.
FCI, who were appointed following a tender process, will act as the independent certification body for RFS developing a robust auditing and certification process as well as identifying and training auditors.
FCI will also work with UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) to ensure the auditing of the standard meets the needs required for ISO 17065 accreditation, which Seafish hopes to announce by summer 2015.
Tom Pickerell, Technical Director at Seafish, said: “The revised Responsible Fishing Scheme is aiming to become a world-leading certification scheme that promotes responsible and ethical behaviour on fishing vessels supplying the UK market. In order to make it credible, we had to appoint a certification partner that not only understands the industry but the requirements for international recognition. FCI were the clear choice and their expertise will be a huge advantage in taking RFS to this next level.”
FCI Managing Director Martin Gill, said: “As one of the only standards in the world aimed at certifying a fishing vessel’s culture and ethical credentials, RFS is a unique programme and we are excited to be involved. Seafish’s ambition for RFS to become a globally recognised standard is fantastic and we are looking forward to the challenge of achieving that ambition together.”
For more information on the revised RFS standard, visit the Seafish website.