The Certification Programme
The Iceland Responsible Fisheries programme (IRF) arose out of discussions with all members of the seafood supply chain in Iceland and was officially launched in October 2008.
The certification model is a robust, common sense, practical and cost-effective approach and allows Icelandic fisheries to meet the FAO criteria for credible certification. This program also utilizes a certifier who is accredited to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) by an International Accreditation Board member. The result is a model that is practical, verifiable, transparent and incorporates the criteria and procedures outlined in the FAO Code and Guidelines.
The purpose of fisheries certification
The main purpose of the programme is to preserve the fisheries management principles adopted by the international community, to document well managed Icelandic fisheries to the highest level of assurance, to promote community consensus behind good discipline in fisheries management and to offer our customers choice in certification.
Requirements for certification
The main requirements for the certification of a fishery are:
- Adoption and implementation of a structured fisheries management system. The objective is to limit the total annual catch (TAC) from the fish stocks so that catches confirm to levels permitted by the relevant authorities.
- Fish stock shall not be overfished and this shall be verified through scientific research and assessment by international experts.
- Implementation of an effective legal and administrative framework for the fishery, with compliance ensured through effective mechanisms for management,monitoring, surveillance, control and enforcement.
- An assessment of the management measures placed on the applicant fishery will be conducted to ensure that a Precautionary approach in accordance with the FAO Code is adopted.
- Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem are limited by the application of a specified approach.
The certification confirms:
- Responsible fisheries management
- Good treatment of marine resources
The Recognised International standards
The IRF certification programme complies with the strictest international standards. It is based on Articles and substantive criteria of the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) reference documents, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995) as well as the FAO Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries (2005/2009).
Collectively, these FAO documents provide the basis of the scope of fishery certification and the technical requirements that a fishery must be able to demonstrate to become certified. The FAO Committee on Fisheries has provided a global, multi-stakeholder process for the documentation of the content of the FAO CCRF and the later, FAO Guidelines for the Eco-labelling of fish and fishery products from marine capture fisheries.
These FAO documents have been translated into straightforward ‘FAO-Based Conformance Criteria’ for fishery assessment. The Conformance Criteria used for Icelandic Fisheries and the Certification methodology is accredited by an IAF Accreditation Body (a member of the International Accreditation Forum) to the international standard for certification EN45011 / ISO 65.
In addition, the Icelandic Responsible Fisheries Management Specification was developed to further link the requirements found in the FAO reference documents with the specific realities and approach to fisheries management applicable in Iceland. It is based on the FAO Code and Guidelines and serves as an additional normative reference document.
Global Trust Certification Ltd., an SAI GLOBAL company, is independently managing the certification and assessment methodology that is used to assess and certify Icelandic fisheries. Read more about Global Trust's role in the IRF programme.
About the Certification
There is a six stage assessment and certification process on each applicant fishery which follows:
- Application & Applicant Review
- Validation Report
- Assessment Verification/Information Review, Site Visits, Assessment Report against the conformance criteria
- External Peer Review
- Final Assessment Report
- Certification Decision
After certification is confirmed, the fishery enters a programme of annual surveillance assessments to maintain continuing certification, with re-certification required every five years.
Once certification has been confirmed and a Chain of Custody certificate issued the certified applicant can apply for the right to use the Certification Mark and/or statement on packs. This guarantees to both buyers and consumers of Icelandic seafood products that they have originated from responsibly managed fisheries.
May 2011: Haddock, Saithe and Golden Redfish enter certification process
The collective interests in Icelandic Haddock, Saithe and Golden Redfish have submitted applications to have their fisheries assessed under the Programme. Applications were received by the independent certification body, Global Trust, from stakeholders in the fishing industry in Iceland; The Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners (LÍÚ), The Federation of Icelandic Fish Processing Plants (SF) and The National Association of Small Boat Owners, Iceland (NASBO). These stakeholders are united under the Iceland Responsible Fisheries Foundation. Global Trust has initiated a review in order to validate each application for full assessment purposes.
Application - Saithe (pdf)
Application - Haddock (pdf)
15 December 2010: Cod fisheries Certified
Icelandic cod received certification 15 December 2010. This is an important, and historic milestone for Iceland's seafood industry and confirmation that the fishery for the nation's most valuable fish stock is well managed.
November 2010: Stakeholders in the Icelandic cod fisheries value chain can start applying for RFM Chain of Custody certification.
Global Trust announced in September 2010 that the following fishery has successfully completed the Assessment Validation Reporting Step of the FAO based Icelandic Responsible Fisheries Management Certification Programme. Unit of Certification: The Icelandic cod within 200 mile EEZ fished by all Icelandic registered vessels using all gear types directly and indirectly under the management of the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.