Global Seafood Assurances have announced that the first vessel to achieve the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS) has been awarded the RFVS certificate by Lloyds Register.
The vessel, Antarctic Discovery, belongs to Australian Longline Fishing, operating in a Marine Stewardship Council Certified fisheries for Patagonian and Antarctic Toothfish. The 56m vessel carries a crew of 20-25, plus two observers, for trips into very challenging waters, often for a couple of months at a time.
“We were very keen to get independent, credible, certification that we recruit and care for our crews in accordance with global conventions,” says Malcolm McNeill, managing director Australian Longline Fishing. “Our customers need that assurance. Now we can demonstrate that we are caring for both the fish and the people who harvest them, and we all feel good about that.”
Preparation and timing were cited as key to a successful audit by Marty Johnson, vessel coordinator. The vessel was in docked in New Zealand being prepared for its next trip, while Marty Johnson was in Hobart, where the company is based. Audit days and crew interviews were carefully planned so as not to detract from those preparations.
“Spending time discussing what we needed to prepare, with Global Seafood Assurance and with Lloyds Register, helped make sure we used audit time efficiently,” says Johnson. “We needed to sharpen up in a few areas, but that was a useful exercise in itself. We plan to have a second vessel audited in a few months and will be even better prepared.”
“I am delighted that the first vessel to be awarded under GSA’s Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard, operates in a MSC-certified fishery,” says Rupert Howes, CEO of the Marine Stewardship Council. “Whilst the MSC standard is focussed on environmental criteria, we have long recognized the industrywide importance of strengthening workers’ protection and welfare at sea. MSC participated in the development process for the RFVS, and very much welcome this and other initiatives which seek to verify and improve labour conditions and crew welfare at the vessel level through independent verification processes. That vessels already participating in the MSC program, are part of the first wave to undergo RFVS audits, is a huge credit to their skippers and crews and testament to the fact that many of our partners set the benchmark for best practice across the global fishing industry.”
Find out more about Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.