The incoming standard. The new V2.0 will be used for all new fisheries that wish to be certified and for fisheries seeking re-certification to the Alaska RFM program from May 1, 2018. This is first complete reissuance of the Alaska RFM Standard since the program’s inception in 2010.
The Alaska RFM Fishery Standard Version 2.0 is the incoming standard and was approved by the ASMI Board in March 2017 for use from May 2018. The new V2.0 will be used for all new fisheries that wish to be certified and for fisheries seeking re-certification to the Alaska RFM program from May 1, 2018.
Certified Fisheries can choose to use the new V2.0 Standard immediately but will be given a period of at least three years to come into compliance with revised fishery standard V2.0. Surveillance audits for existing certified fisheries will continue to be against RFM V1.3 (the outgoing standard) until May 2021 unless the Fishery specifically requests an assessment against the new RFM V2.0 Standard.
HOW THE ALASKA RFM FISHERY STANDARD (V2.0) WAS DEVELOPED AND WHAT’S NEW:
The Alaska RFM Standard has been in existence since 2010 and is now on Version 2.0. 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.”
The Alaska RFM Fisheries Standard V 2.0 includes many substantial changes, adding depth and robustness to the Alaska RFM Certification Program. Revisions are based on a combination of factors including needs for improvements recognized by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) and the RFM Fisheries Standard Committee, stakeholder input collected over a two-year process, and required components of the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) global benchmark tool.
In summary, the changes and improvements to Alaska RFM Fisheries Standard V 2.0 include:
- Rewording of complex clauses;
- General housekeeping and restructuring;
- Fusion of clauses with overlapping requirements;
- Arranging 6 Key Principles for evaluating fisheries into 4 Key Sections;
- Inclusion of specific metrics and indicators;
- Improved specificity of some clauses (e.g. stock status, ecosystem components, etc…);
- Review of additional FAO documentation and related inclusion of some clauses;
- Scoring and Guidance document improvements;
- Development of an addendum and framework for Data Deficient Fisheries assessments;
- Modification of the scoring matrix from a descriptive to a numerical system;
- The Alaska RFM Fishery Standard is not applicable to deep-sea fisheries;
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 2.0 standard follows a similar process to fisheries certified to RFM Version 1.3 and will remain in full compliance with ISO 17065 accreditation requirements for the operation of a certification program.