The outgoing standard. V1.3 is has been used for all fisheries that have wished to be certified and for fisheries seeking re-certification to the Alaska RFM program since 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.
HOW THE ALASKA RFM FISHERY STANDARD (V1.3) WAS DEVELOPED AND WHAT WAS NEW:
The Alaska RFM Standard has been in existence since 2010 (Version 1.2) and has been on Version 1.3 for the last three years. 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 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 that had wished 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.