RFM Program for Certified Seafood Recognized by GSSI

Image: Certified Seafood Collaborative.

A public-private partnership advocating for preserving oceans for future generations and more sustainable seafood has announced recognition of a Certified Seafood Collaborative (CSC) fisheries program.

The CSC’s Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) program, based on version 2.0 of the Global Benchmark Tool, on June 30, became the first certification scheme to achieve Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) Initiative status.

The partnership was cited for bringing together more than 100 partners worldwide for the common cause of turning seafood into a driver for good and attempting to preserve oceans for future generations, GSSI officials said.

The RFM program was assessed and found to meet all 142 essential components, aligning them with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The group, under the United Nations’ Code of Conduct, sets parameters for responsible fisheries and ecolabeling of fish and fishery products from Marine/Inland Capture Fisheries.

GSSI’s Global Benchmark tool provides formal recognition of seafood certification schemes that complete a rigorous and transparent process.

GSSI said the tool also is underpinned by the FAO Technical Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification.

Buying seafood from RFM-certified fisheries provides documented third-party assurance of responsible seafood sourcing practices and proof of origin, all without paying logo fees, according to the GSSI.

The CSC, a non-profit foundation led by a board of seafood and sustainability industry experts, became the owner of the RFM Certification program in July 2020. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) officially handed over ownership after a six-month period of transition following more than a decade development of the independent certification process for the industry.

GSSI officials said the transfer of RFM to the CSC presents a new opportunity for cost savings, increased efficiencies and growth outside of Alaska fisheries.

In 2020, the first change made by CSC to the RFM program was to expand its geographic scope from Alaska fisheries to North American fisheries operating within the exclusive economic zones of either the U.S. or Canada.