The incoming standard. The new V1.3 will be used for all new fisheries that wish to be certified and for fisheries seeking re-certification to the Alaska RFM program from January 1, 2016.
The criteria found in the following FAO documents were utilized to comprise the revised Alaska RFM Conformance Criteria (Version 1.3) as advised by the RFM Conformance Criteria Committee and approved by the ASMI Board in November 2015:
- The FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries 1995
- The FAO Guidelines for Eco-labelling of Fish and Fishery Products for Marine Capture Fisheries 2005/2009
- The FAO Fisheries Circular No. 917 , October 1996
- Guidelines for the ecolabelling of fish and fishery products from inland capture fisheries, FAO, 2011
These FAO documents are considered the best globally acceptable and balanced framework for fisheries eco-certification.
The Alaska RFM Fishery Standard Version 1.3 is the incoming standard and was approved by the ASMI Board in November 2015 for use from January 2016. The new V1.3 will be used for all new fisheries that wish to be certified and for fisheries seeking re-certification to the Alaska RFM program from January 1, 2016.
Certified Fisheries can choose to use the new V1.3 Standard immediately but will be given a period of at least three years to come into compliance with revised fishery standard V1.3. Surveillance audits for existing certified fisheries will continue to be against RFM V1.2 (the outgoing standard) until January 2019 unless the Fishery specifically requests an assessment against the new RFM V1.3 Standard.
HOW THE ALASKA RFM FISHERY STANDARD (V1.3) WAS DEVELOPED AND WHAT’S NEW:
The Alaska RFM Standard has been in existence since 2010 and is now on Version 1.3. The originally stated remit of the RFM Standard and program is to ensure:
“Responsible Fisheries Management, including enhancement practices (but excluding full cycle aquaculture), up to the point of landing, with the main objective being the biological sustainability of the “stock under consideration”, with consideration for conservation, biodiversity and ecosystem integrity; and due regard to social responsibility and the economic viability of the fishery.”
In evolving the original Version of the RFM standard to the current Version 1.3, the remit has remained consistent, with the addition of the following elements:
- Fully integrating the minimum substantive criteria of the 2011 FAO Ecolabelling Guidelines, which better clarify the terms for the assessment of enhanced fisheries.
- A statement relating to the applicability of the RFM Standard to the governance and management systems for small scale and/or data limited fisheries, where appropriate. On the provision that the performance of these fisheries can be objectively verified, with due consideration to the availability of data and the fact that their management systems can differ substantially for each type and scale of fisheries.
An addendum has been developed for the RFM program to deal specifically with the assessment of Small Scale and/or Data Deficient Fisheries, should they wish to apply for certification to the RFM program.
Additionally, application to the Alaska RFM is only available for fisheries operating with the Alaska 200 nm EEZ.
The certification process of client fisheries wishing to be assessed against the RFM Version 1.3 standard follows a similar process to fisheries certified to RFM Version 1.2 and will remain in full compliance with ISO 17065 accreditation requirements for the operation of a certification program.
A key change for RFM Version 1.3 is the addition of a 30-day Public Comment Period for new assessments and full Fishery re-assessments. The Draft Assessment Report will be open for comment for 30 days, before it goes forward for Certification decision.