Seafish launches responsible fishing port program

Published on
July 24, 2018

U.K. seafood industry body Seafish has launched the Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme (RFPS) along with a call for appropriate ports to apply.

RFPS is a voluntary program developed by industry to certify responsible food safety and operational practices within the country’s fishing ports. The intention is that these ports and the organizations that operate within them will be able to demonstrate they are following good practice. 

During the development of RFPS it became evident that all types of fishing ports could not be covered by a single standard, so the RFPS Oversight Board agreed that two standards should be developed. At present, it is only open for applications from large fishing ports – those with an auction or direct sale function – that wish to be certified, to demonstrate their responsible operating credentials in the areas of: Food Safety and Structural Integrity, Port and the Working Environment, Care for the Environment, Care of the Catch and Traceability.  

“The commitment of industry stakeholders and their extensive collaboration with Seafish has been pivotal to the successful development of this groundbreaking scheme. This is a scheme developed by industry for industry and will assure the supply chain that certified ports are adhering to good operational standards,” said Marcus Jacklin of Seafish.

The initial need for RFPS was identified by the British Ports Association Fishing Ports Group (BPAFPG) in 2015 as part of Seafish’s “ports and auctions” work at the time. A scoping exercise completed in 2015 demonstrated supply chain support for the scheme. 

Martyn Boyers, chief executive of Grimsby Fish Market and chair of BPAFPG, believes that the new program is of “multifaceted” benefit to U.K. fishing ports. 

“The scheme has brought collaboration in the ports sector and allows us to benchmark our respective operations. This has led to information sharing in key areas such as traceability, technical and hygiene. The RFPS will help ensure that U.K. ports and harbors continue to be global leaders in good practice and I’d encourage all suitable large ports to apply.”

The separate standard for smaller ports is now being developed, and Seafish is seeking volunteers from the supply chain to be part of the process.

In time, it is hoped that RFPS will dovetail with the Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS).

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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