The Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) is a voluntary vessel based programme certifying high standards of crew welfare and responsible catching practices on fishing vessels. The independently audited scheme demonstrates that a vessel and its skipper operate to best practice in five core areas.

  •          Safety, health & welfare of the crew
  •          Training & professional development
  •          The vessel & its mission
  •          Care of the catch
  •          Care for the environment

The scheme is open to all fishing vessels; from pelagic trawlers to single handed creelers. The RFS standards have been fully revised and now include social responsibility requirements. Such assurance is increasingly being sought by the supply chain thus, RFS satisfies a unique and necessary function, complementing other fishery-based sustainability certifications and contributing to this sector’s long term viability.

The RFS provides tangible evidence that the seafood landed by a vessel has been responsibly harvested and handled to industry agreed standards from catch to quayside. Therefore, the RFS is a positive tool for any vessel in promoting itself and its products to the market.

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Vessels will need to satisfy the requirements of the Crewed or Single Handed RFS standards, as described within the suite of RFS Compliance Support Guides and generic support documentation. Vessel assessments will follow a clear certification process fully in compliance with ISO17065, ensuring that it is impartial, credible and transparent.

The 2015 re-launch of the scheme will also feature the addition of a Chain of Custody standard, with major UK supermarkets and foodservice sector suppliers having made commitments to feature the RFS scheme within both their UK and International sourcing policies.

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Candidate vessels obtain an Application Pack from Seafish which gives a comprehensive

overview of what the certification will entail. Once this is worked through and all support documentation and necessary policies are in place, documents are submitted to the certification body.

A vessel audit will be performed by the certification body, and the findings reported back to the skipper, with a timeframe to rectify any non-conformance. The certification decision is taken by committee, who are independent from the audit team and award certification to successful applicants.

The unit of certification is both the vessel and the skipper as a partnership.

Contacts and further info:

Seafish RFS website: click here

Information booklet on the revised RFS: click here

Further Information on the revised standards: click here

For any further enquiries please contact:

Mick Bacon, RFS Manager
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T: +44 (0)1736 732759
M: +44 (0) 7976222936

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