The Certification Programme

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 programme also utilizes a certifier who is accredited to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) by an International Accreditation Forum member. The programme has received a recognition by Global Seafood Sustainable Initiative (GSSI). 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 Iceland Responsible Fisheries Management Certification Programme (IRF) arose out of discussions with all members of the seafood supply chain in Iceland and was officially launched in October 2008.  

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.


FAO Based Certification

The IRF certification programme complies with the strictest international requirements. It is based on articles and substantive criteria of the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) reference documents, FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF(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.

The Icelandic Responsible Fisheries Management  (IRFM) Standard is a certification standard based on the 1995 FAO CCRF and on the FAO Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries adopted in 2005 and extended in 2009. 

GSSI Recognised

IRFM Certification Programme, with Fisheries Management Standard 2.0, has received a recognition by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). The IRFM Certification Programme is in alignment with all 143 Essential Components of the GSSI Global Benchmark Tool. View the press release by GSSI.

The GSSI Global Benchmark Tool, launched in October 2015, is grounded in the FAO Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries and FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and consists of performance areas related to scheme governance, operational management (including chain of custody) and applied wild-capture fisheries audit standards.

GSSI is a global platform and partnership of seafood companies, NGOs, experts, governmental and intergovernmental organizations. The mission of GSSI is to ensure confidence in the supply and promotion of certified seafood by increasing comparability and transparency in seafood certification, that will enable an informed choice for procurement of certified seafood. GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool, which is based on international reference documents from the FAO, identifies and recognizes robust and credible certification schemes. View the IRFM Certification Program Benchmark Report and Recognition.

ISO Accredited

The Icelandic Responsible Fisheries Management  (IRFM) Standard and the IRFM Chain of Custody Standard have received full accreditation to the internationally recognised ISO/IEC 17065 Standard for certification of product, process and services   schemes. The accreditation assessment was carried out by an International Accreditation Forum (IAF) member, the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB).


Third-party certification 

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.