First Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard-Certified Coldwater Prawn Fishing Vessel Announced

The Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) is pleased to announce that the first coldwater prawn fishing vessel has been certified to the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS).

The vessel, Merike, is a 70-meter Estonia-registered trawler that targets coldwater prawns (Pandalus borealis) in the North Atlantic along the eastern Canadian coastline as well as the eastern Barents Sea and up to Svalbard. Built in 2002, the vessel is owned by Reyktal AS, which is part of Reykjavik-based IEC Group.

The RFVS certificate was issued by the certification body Acoura Marine, which conducted the third-party audit. Acoura Marine is based in the United Kingdom and part of Llyods Register QA.

“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,” said Anita Ásmundsdóttir, quality manager for IEC Group. “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 project was sponsored by Lyons Seafoods Ltd., part of the Labeyrie Fine Foods Group and a leading UK 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,” said Estelle Brennan, head of sustainability for Labeyrie Fine Foods UK, which owns Lyons Seafoods.

To date, there have been 29 vessels certified to RFVS since the first vessel — Antarctic Discovery, which belongs to Australian Longline Fishing and operates in the Marine Stewardship Council-certified Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish fishery — attained RFVS certification last January. RFVS is part of GSA’s Best Seafood Practices (BSP) third-party certification program, which was introduced last June and includes the Seafood Processing Standard (SPS).

On Feb. 22, Issue 2.0 of the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS) was released to the public, initiating a 60-day public comment period.

To learn more about RFVS and the BSP program, sign up for this webinar with Arni M. Mathiesen, former assistant director general and head of fisheries and aquaculture at Food and Agriculture Organization, scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, at 2 p.m. GMT.

About Best Seafood Practices
Best Seafood Practices is a third-party certification program administered by the Global Seafood Alliance, an international, nonprofit association dedicated to advancing responsible seafood practices through education, advocacy and third-party assurances. BSP is the world’s only third-party certification program capable of linking responsible wild fisheries to certified vessels and processing plants. BSP provides assurances to the marketplace that wild seafood has been harvested and processed in an ethical manner with respect for the wellbeing and security of all workers across the supply chain. Visit