European cold-water prawn vessel obtains RFVS certification

Published on
March 18, 2022
Merike, is a 70-meter trawler registered in Estonia that has earned Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard certification.

A cold-water prawn fishing vessel has achieved Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS) certification for the first time in the certification’s history.

The RFVS certification is a part of the Global Seafood Alliance’s Best Seafood Practices (BSP), a third-party certification program introduced in June 2021.

The RFVS certification sets standards for ensuring wild-caught seafood that has been harvested and processed in an ethical manner with respect for well-being of all workers across the supply chain. The standard provides assurance that the certified vessel is providing decent working conditions, meeting operational best practices, and ensuring crew rights, worker safety, and their well-being.

The certified vessel, Merike, is a 70-meter trawler registered in Estonia that targets cold-water prawns (Pandalus borealis) in the North Atlantic along the eastern Canadian coastline, the Barents Sea, and up to Svalbard – a Norwegian Archipelago located in the Arctic Ocean.  The vessel was built in 2002 and owned by Reyktal AS, which is part of the Reykjavik, Iceland-based IEC Group.

“We are pleased with the support from RFVS in further formalizing the health and safety systems onboard our vessels and to also receive recognition of the effectiveness of our system and the excellent work of our team,” IEC Group Quality Manager Anita Ásmundsdóttir said. “RFVS enables us to demonstrate to our customers and partners the high standards we strive for and helps us to carry on our journey of continual improvement.”

The RFVS certificate was issued through a third-party audit, completed by the certification body Acoura Marine. Acoura Marine is based in the United Kingdom, and is part of Lloyds Register QA. The project was sponsored by Lyons Seafood, which is a part of the Labeyrie Fine Foods Group, a France-based supplier of prawns, shellfish, and other seafood items.

“We are committed to the safety and welfare of our fishermen. Achieving RFVS certification provides assurances to us, our customers, and our consumers that our partner IEC operates to high standards of working conditions and operational practices. A great achievement indeed,” Labeyrie Fine Foods U.K. Head of Sustainability Estelle Brennan said.

Currently, there are 29 vessels certified to the RFVS since the first vessel, Antarctic Discovery, attained RFVS certification last January. Antarctic Discovery belongs to the Australian Longline Fishing and operates in the Marine Stewardship Council-certified Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish fishery.

On 22 February, 2022, GSA released “Issue 2.0” of the RFVS, initiating a 60-day public comment period.

Photo courtesy of the Global Seafood Alliance

Contributing editor reporting from Hawaii, U.S.A.

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