Public Comment Sought on Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard Issue 2.0
Issue 2.0 of the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS) has been released to the public, initiating a 60-day public comment period that ends April 22, the Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) announced on Feb. 22.
This is the first significant update to the RFVS since June 2020, when GSA officially released RFVS 1.0 to the public after acquiring the standard from the United Kingdom’s Seafish Agency and internationalizing it two years prior. The changes to the standard were agreed upon by the RFVS technical committee on the Jan. 19, 2022. 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).
Issue 2.0 will replace Issue 1.1 and adds a number of new requirements to the standard. They include:
- Requiring a crew remediation policy within a vessel’s quality management system, which will be activated if the new GSA RFVS Zero Tolerance Policy (ZTP) is breached. This ZTP only covers the very serious human rights violations identified during a vessel audit.
- Extending the RFVS vessel category scope to include tender/supply vessels that operate within a group/fleet application.
- Fully aligning with the new Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) At Sea Operations (ASO) benchmark.
- Defining the difference between a recruitment agency and a recruitment supplier/provider, especially in regards to crew payment.
- Further clarifying the clauses relating to young family members working onboard fishing vessels and the measures in place to protect them.
Vessels currently certified under RFVS Issue 1.1 will not be subject to these new requirements until their current certification expires, which is three years after the initial certification date. There have been 28 vessels certified under RFVS Issue 1.1 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 — earned certification last January.
Stakeholders interested in submitting comments are encourage to do so here. A draft of RFVS Issue 2.0 can be viewed here. All properly submitted comments will be considered by GSA before the final draft of RFVS Issue 2.0 is published following the public comment period.
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 bspcertification.org.