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Sri Lanka Adopts UK Sceme For Responsible Fishing

UK - Seafish, the authority on seafood, has announced that more than 20 Tuna King boats in Sri Lanka have now achieved certification in the Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS). All of the newly certified boats are longliners catching tuna and mid-water species out of the port of Beruwala.

Tuna King, which supplies tuna to Morrisons and other retailers, has been working in partnership with Seafish and the retailer to achieve the first certification of boats in the RFS scheme that catch tuna.

On Tuna King boats, when fish is hauled, it is processed and stored by using an exclusive on board processing and control system that reduces wastage. When the fish arrives at the Tuna King factory in the UK, the fish is re-packed and sent to retailers, meaning the catching and supply chain is unbroken.

James Weerawardena, Tuna King’s owner, said: “I chose to support the RFS because I believe it is one of the most important and credible sustainability schemes available for fishermen. The criteria and practices for certification are straightforward and our fishermen were able to adopt the rules of the scheme without any problems.

“I had great support and encouragement from Matthew Bailey, the Morrisons fish buyer. This commitment to us and our sustainability programme made it possible for Tuna King to become the first RFS certifed tuna producer.

“One of the most valuable features of the RFS is that it is relevant to all species, not just tuna. I urge other business to support the scheme in order for the whole industry to improve and develop artisan fisheries, such as those in Sri Lanka.”

Created by Seafish and the seafood industry in 2006, the Responsible Fishing Scheme promotes good operational and environmental practices. Based on a Publicly Available Specification from the British Standards Institution (BSi), the scheme is an independent, audited assessment of the application of good practice by a vessel skipper and crew in their fishing operations. There are over 600 UK registered vessels actively involved with the scheme, with 418 now fully certified. This figure represents an impressive 50 per cent of the seafood landed by the British fishing fleet by weight of catch.

This latest news confirms the UK as a leader in promoting responsible and sustainable fishing practices domestically as well as internationally. The Dutch, Belgian and Danish fleets have also all expressed interest in developing a similar scheme.

Mick Bacon, Seafish Project Manager for the RFS, said: “I’m delighted that Tuna King is supporting the RFS. Sourcing seafood responsibly is a global issue and the benefits of the scheme are being recognized beyond the UK. We hope this will lead to more fisheries being considered for RFS certification, increasing supplies of tuna and potentially other non-UK sourced species as well.”

the Fish Site Editor

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