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Seafood Processing



Seafish calls for reshape of Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme. Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, is calling for industry leaders to help shape a new version of the Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme (RFPS) for smaller ports, as Peterhead becomes the first large port to apply for RFPS certification.

Launched in July 2018, RFPS is a voluntary certified programme designed to demonstrate responsible food safety and good operational practices within UK fishing ports and harbours. The independently audited scheme has been developed with the UK seafood industry to raise standards across the fishing ports sector and is currently open for applications from large fishing ports with an auction or direct sale function.

Peterhead Port is the first fishing port to apply to be certified under the large ports scheme. Harbour Master John Forman said “In my capacity as Harbour Master at Peterhead Port, and on behalf of Peterhead Port Authority, I am delighted to support the Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme (RFPS). The Port has applied to be audited to RFPS, which is ongoing. This bespoke certification for fishing ports and the fishing industry as a whole will implement standards in traceability, working practices, hygiene and health & safety. Peterhead Port Authority endorses RFPS and believes that this certification will benefit all of our customers and stakeholders in the seafood industry.”

The scheme’s standards provide assurance to buyers and sellers of seafood that certified fishing ports are acting in a responsible manner with the seafood landed or sold through the market. 

Nicholas Donnelly of Young’s Seafood said, “As part of a modern food industry, Young’s Seafood places great value in the independent inspection and certification of our upstream supply chains. With the creation of a third party Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme, it is now possible for our UK caught products to be produced entirely within an independently audited and certified supply chain, offering greater business confidence for us, and an increased level of assurance for our customers.”

Following the launch of the large ports scheme, Seafish is now looking to develop a new version of the scheme for smaller ports. Industry leaders and representatives from small ports are invited to help by providing information about fishing port facilities and by joining a development committee which will steer the development of the small ports scheme to ensure that it is fit for purpose. The committee will also help to establish the assessment framework, which will be informed by the information gathered about facilities at small fishing ports.

Progress on collating information to support the development of the scheme is underway following a schedule of visits to small ports across the UK. Support for the scheme has been expressed by Tony Usher, Harbours Manager at Highland Council, and Kevin Quigley, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Fishery Harbour Authority, who have welcomed the initiative as a complement to the existing standard for large ports and indicated their willingness to become committee members to help steer the project and provide information to underpin the scheme’s development.

Marcus Jacklin, RFPS Project Manager, said: “In the process of creating the Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme, it became clear that large and small ports each needed their own standard to ensure the scheme is fit for purpose and covers the requirements of all types of fishing ports and harbours in the UK.

“We are now pleased to be moving forward with the development of a standard which will give small ports an opportunity to apply for certification that acknowledges their responsible operating practices. We look forward to working with the small port sector and would encourage anyone who owns or manages a small fishing port in the UK and would like to help shape the scheme to get in touch.”

Further information about the RFPS is available on the Seafish website: https://www.seafish.org/article/responsible-fishing-ports-scheme

To find out more about getting involved in shaping the small ports scheme or applying for RFPS large port certification, contact Marcus Jacklin on marcus.jacklin@seafish.co.uk or 01472 252 340.