How to Join the Responsible Fishing Scheme
The following explains the stages of progression to RFS membership and also provides information on the application pack you will need to complete.
The certification process is a two step process and the diagram below shows how your application will progress to full membership of the RFS.
To start the process of joining the Responsible Fishing Scheme, click HERE to download the Application Pack.
You must also read the RFS Compliance Support Guides which explain the best practice that must be complied with to become a member of the RFS. There are 5 guides which cover different fishing operations – Demersal, Nephrops, Pelagic, Scallops and Shellfish – and one guide which applies to all sectors as it covers health and safety, welfare, food safety and the environment. Applicants should read all guides that are applicable to them before submitting their RFS application.
The CSGs are available HERE
Once you have completed your application, send it to the RFS audit partners Acoura Marine. You can either e-mail this pack to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to Acoura Marine, 6 Redheughs Rigg, Edinburgh, EH12 9DQ.
RFS Application Pack:
Part One of the application pack helps you identify what documents you will need to show the auditors when they visit your vessel. You may already have many of the documents needed and it is perfectly acceptable to use existing documents. A table at the front of the pack will help you identify which documents you may already have and where to find them.
Where you don’t have all the documents needed Seafish have created blank documents for you to complete. These are available to download from the RFS Website – a link in the application pack will take you to any documents you need. There is a tick box list in the pack to help you make sure you have everything you need.
When you have ticked every box to show you have all the documents you need, these documents must be kept on board to show the auditors when they visit your vessel.
Part Two of the pack collects information about your vessel (types of fishing operations, crewing levels, home port etc) that the Seafish audit partner, Acoura Marine, need to know before they can arrange your audit.
The third and final part of the pack contains clauses from the RFS Standard that must be complied with in order to become a member of the scheme. You must sign a declaration to confirm that you fully comply with these scheme rules. There are links to the Compliance Support Guides so you fully understand what best practice is expected of RFS members.
It is important to note that where a vessel has more than one skipper, all skippers must sign the declaration before sending the application pack to our audit partners Acoura Marine.
A copy of the vessel’s insurance policy must be included with your application.
The Vessel Audit:
Once the application pack has been returned to Acoura, they will contact you to arrange an audit on board your vessel. At the end of the audit the findings will be reported back to the skipper. If any issues (non-conformances) are raised, you are given 28 days to put these right.
Inspection of the Catch:
As well as inspecting the vessel and checking your documents, the audit involves an inspection of the catch. Ideally this will be done at the same time as the vessel audit but there may be exceptional reasons for this to be done separately. This should be discussed directly with Acoura Marine.
Confirmation of Membership:
Once all parts of the audit are complete and the auditors are satisfied that there are no outstanding non-conformances, the auditor’s report is reviewed by Acoura Marine’s Technical Review Committee. When you membership is confirmed, you will be issued with a Certificate which is valid for two years. It is important to note that there will be a requirement to undergo a surveillance audit at the mid-point of the two year period shown on your certificate.
Help and guidance:
For help about arranging an audit please contact Acoura Marine’s RFS Manager Isla Paterson either by e-mail: RFS@acoura.com or by phone: 0131 335 6624
Guide to RFS
This guide outlines the updated Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) describing what has changed, how it is managed and how it will benefit the whole supply chain.
The following link contains the full suite of documents that may be needed to present as evidence at the on board audit.
This page also carries a copy of the RFS Standard and a number of background information documents.