GSA launches consumer-facing website, releases update to Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard

Published on
July 28, 2022

The Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) has published an update of the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS).

The RFVS is part of GSA’s Best Seafood Practices (BSP) certification program, which uses third-party certification to link responsible wild fisheries to certified vessels and processing plants.

The new RFVS Issue 2.0 replaces the previous Issue 1.1 in order to incorporate lessons learned and feedback by industry partners, during the certification pilots. A number of new requirements were applied to Issue 2.0, including the development and incorporation of a zero-tolerance policy for managing instances of serious human rights atrocities affecting crew members, as well as zero tolerance for the use of illegal child labor. Lastly, support/tender vessels can be included, audited, and certified as part of the group/fleet assessment process.

All of this was included in order to strengthen credibility of assurance of crew rights and welfare onboard certified fishing vessels, GSA said. The Issue 2.0 was published after a 60-day public comment period and GSA board approval.

Currently, 27 vessels that cover 610 crew members across the world are RFVS-certified under the RFVS Issue 1.1 and will not be subject to the new requirements until their certifications expire, three years after initial certification date. The first vessel to RFVS Issue 1.1 was certified in January 2021, less than a year out from the first significant update to RFVS in June 2020. Two fleets are in the process of getting certified to the new issue.

Separately, GSA has launched a consumer-facing website for its Best Aquaculture Practices certification, and a consumer-focused campaig via social media.

The launch of the “Healthy Fish, Healthy Planet, Healthy You!" campaign was in April 2022 and will continue through U.S. National Seafood Month in October. 

"The campaign is designed to heighten awareness of the BAP brand and, ultimately, drive sales of responsibly produced and sourced seafood," GSA said in a release. "To accomplish this, GSA is developing new relationships with national and regional consumer media and influencers to spread the word about BAP certification. The program will include information and education for media on responsible aquaculture production, the necessity of aquaculture in a growing world, and how certification can be the key to shopping responsibly. Additionally, to engage consumers in a fun and exciting way, GSA will launch a social media campaign dubbed 'Are You AquaCultured?' The campaign will encourage consumers to educate themselves about farmed seafood and become 'AquaCultured' in the process.

“Seafood producers and buyers have long known the benefits of BAP, and now it’s time to share those benefits with consumers so they can understand, appreciate and enjoy responsibly produced farmed seafood,” GSA CEO Brian Perkins said. “Our research has shown that the more consumers know about responsibly produced farmed seafood, the more they trust the BAP label and the retailers and restaurants who endorse it.”

Based on the results of this initial effort, GSA will look to roll out consumer campaigns in other markets as well as campaigns for its wild seafood certification program, Best Seafood Practices, it said.

Photo courtesy of RossHelen/Shutterstock

Contributing editor/Reporting from Hawaii, U.S.A.

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