Chain of Custody Certification

Who does benefit from Chain of Custody certification?

The main objective of Iceland Responsible Fisheries Management Chain of Custody Certification is to provide an assurance for suppliers to demonstrate and claim that products originate from a Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certified fishery and minimise the risk of public confusion between certified and non-certified fish products. To achieve this, a full product traceability system is required so products can be traced from their suppliers and tracked to their buyers.

All stakeholders in the Icelandic fisheries value chain - from fisheries to retailers - that wish to use a certified claim on a product for marketing purposes need to apply for Responsible Fisheries Management Chain of Custody Certification from the independent Certification Body, Global Trust Certification Ltd.

Chain of Custody Standard Requirements

To become certified as meeting the Chain of Custody requirements, applicants must be able to demonstrate compliance with the Standard, through an independent assessment by an approved Certification Body. The following text is derived from the Chain of Custody Standard, please read the full version of the document here on the web.

1.0    General Principles of Traceability for Chain of Custody

1.1  The facility must have a documented policy to state that they are committed to the Chain of Custody Standard.

1.2  Seafood products must not carry the official certified label to indicate that they originate from a Responsibly Managed Fishery unless they have been certified as meeting the Chain of Custody Standard. 

1.3  All seafood products carrying the official certified label from certified fisheries must be kept readily identifiable and where necessary kept clearly separated from products of non-certified fisheries at all times.

1.4  Traceability systems that are able to identify the certified labeled seafood products and trace those products back to the certified fishery from where they were derived must be in place.

1.5  Approved and authorized identification coding, where appropriate, must be in place for each link in the supply chain from fishery to consumer. 

1.6  All stages in the value supply chain, including secondary processors or other buyers must comply with the applicable national/federal and/or regional/state regulations on labeling and traceability.

1.7  The applicant must  have a system in place to ensure that purchased seafood carrying the official certified label is not mixed with non-certified seafood during transportation to and from the site and in third party storage if applicable.

2.0    Traceability within the Supply Chain

2.1  Each seafood consignment must be traceable back to the certified fishery and should have the following minimum information available:

  • Species name
  • Catch area

2.2  Certified seafood inputs must be kept separate from non-certified seafood inputs throughout seafood processing, distribution and marketing if they are to carry the official certified label. This may be achieved by:

  • Physical separation
  • Temporal separation

2.3  Where certified and non-certified seafood inputs are mixed they are not eligible for carrying the official Certified label as coming from a responsibly managed fishery under this program.

2.4  The applicant must operate a system that allows any product or batch of products sold by the organization as originating from a certified fishery to be verified through documentation.

2.5  Procedures must be established by all applicants in the value chain to deal with any nonconformities in the traceability system.

2.6  The applicant must operate a product recall system that will be activated if certified seafood is mixed with non-certified seafood. The relevant certification body must be notified in the event of a certified product being recalled.

3.0    Traceability and Labelling

3.1  The applicant must test the efficacy of their batch control and traceability system through a thorough documented internal audit conducted no less than once per year.

3.2  Documentation must be available that verifies the identity of the certified seafood as originating from a certified fishery.

3.3  Certified seafood products must be labeled or otherwise be identified in a manner that ensures traceability is maintained during packaging, storage, handling and delivery.

3.4  Each stage in the seafood supply chain must be required to be able to track and trace the certified product one step forward and back to the certified fishery.

3.5  Non-conformity issues identified through internal controls or through other means must  be dealt with appropriately through a corrective action plan.

3.6  Each certified labeled product must be labeled with all necessary information. The information should include the following:

  • Commercial  species name,
  • Country of origin,
  • Fishing/catch area
  • Product description,
  • Product code or production code number.

3.7  During storage and transportation of certified seafood product each unit must have its identification number indicated on the attached label or documentation.

3.8  The applicant must operate a secure system for the production, storage and application of product labels bearing the certified claim and will ensure that only certified seafood product is labeled as such.

3.9  A record of all certified seafood received must be maintained, showing the name of the supplier, their unique chain of custody certificate number, evidence of certificate validity, and sufficient other details to allow the tracing of those inputs back to their suppliers and the certified fishery.

3.10  Traceability records must be available any time when required from any related businesses, for any reason, and must be accurate, legible and unadulterated.

3.11  All traceability records must be kept for a reasonable period, with a minimum of 3 years.

3.12  Non-conformity issues identified through, external audits or through other means must be dealt with appropriately through a corrective action plan.

3.13  Non-conformity procedures should include documented corrections and corrective actions within specified time limits.

3.14  The applicant should keep a documented record of customer complaints or feedback concerning the labeled certified seafood.

Increased scope of current Chain of Custody Certificate

When other fisheries will be certified, certified suppliers can apply for extended scope of the chain of custody certificate. If the supply chain for newly certified fishery is the same as for already certified fishery, Global Trust will need written assurance that this is the case, and thus there is no need for further assessment. In this case a new certificate with an extended scope will be issued to the supplier with minimal costs.

If they have different suppliers, they will need to have these suppliers audited before they can be given an extension to the scope of the chain of custody. This will incur a site assessment cost of these new suppliers and an administration fee to cover the cost of amending the certificate.