The Global Seafood Alliance (GSA) has announced that the first coldwater shrimp fishing vessel has been certified to the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS).
The 70-metre Merike operates under the Estonia flag and fishes for coldwater shrimp (Pandalus borealis) in the North Atlantic from the eastern Canadian coastline to the eastern Barents Sea and up to Svalbard.
Merike was built in 2002 and is operated by Reyktal AS, which is part of Reykjavik-based IEC Group.
The RFVS certificate was issued by UK-based certification body Acoura Marine, which conducted the third-party audit.
‘We are pleased with the support from RFVS in further formalising the health and safety systems on board our vessels and to also receive recognition of the effectiveness of our system and the excellent work of our team,’ said Anita Ásmundsdóttir, quality manager for IEC Group.
‘RFVS enables us to demonstrate to our customers and partners the high standards we strive for and helps us to carry on our journey of continual improvement.’
The project was sponsored by Lyons Seafoods Ltd., part of the Labeyrie Fine Foods Group and a leading UK supplier of prawns, shellfish and other seafood items.
‘We are committed to the safety and welfare of our fishermen. Achieving RFVS certification provides assurances to us, our customers and our consumers that our partner IEC operates to high standards of working conditions and operational practices. A great achievement indeed,’ said Estelle Brennan, head of sustainability for Labeyrie Fine Foods UK, which owns Lyons Seafoods.
To date, there have been 29 vessels certified to RFVS since Antarctic Discovery, which belongs to Australian Longline Fishing and operates in the Marine Stewardship Council-certified Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish fishery, attained RFVS certification last January.