Buying seafood from RFM Certified fisheries provides documented third-party assurance of responsible seafood sourcing practices and proof of origin, all without paying logo fees.
On July 1, 2020, the Certified Seafood Collaborative (CSC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation led by a diverse board of seafood and sustainability industry experts, became the owner of the Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) Certification program. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute officially handed over ownership after a six-month period of transition following over ten years of dedication to developing the robust and independent certification for the industry. The transfer of RFM to the CSC presents new opportunity for cost savings, increased efficiencies and growth outside of Alaska fisheries.
Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) is a third-party certification program for wild-capture fisheries, similar to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) on the aquaculture side.
Fisheries are independently assessed and scored against a set of criteria, and must meet these criteria in order to become certified. Certification is valid for five years with annual surveillance audits.
Two Credible Standards
RFM is directly based on criteria from the United Nations Food and Agriculture (FAO), which provides the world’s most recognized fisheries management guidance. Developed with the participation of the world’s leading fishery biologists, environmental organizations and fishery managers from 70 countries, any change to FAO criteria and guidance documents occurs through a measured, deliberative process.
As a result of using FAO criteria, RFM is not beholden to special interests that results in frequent changing criteria for standards nor standards measurement. Other certification schemes can’t offer this level of stability.
Similar to other wild-capture seafood certification programs, RFM provides credible standards for sustainable or responsible fishing and supply chain traceability. RFM has two certification standards:
- Fisheries Standard
- Chain of Custody Standard (CoC)
Recognized by GSSI
Adding to RFM’s credibility, in 2016 RFM Certification was the first certification program to be recognized by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). In 2019, RFM again achieved recognition by GSSI after they conducted their Monitoring of Continued Alignment (MOCA) report. On June 30, 2023, RFM once again achieved recognition with GSSI’s new version of their Global Benchmark Tool. This means that RFM’s Program and Fishery Standard is in alignment with ALL 142 Essential Components of the GSSI benchmark. GSSI is a global platform with over 95 global partners (retailers, suppliers, NGOs, etc) who support all certification programs that are successfully benchmarked as meeting responsible and sustainable sourcing.
Affordable and Independent Choice
RFM provides fisheries and seafood customers with a credible and cost-effective choice in seafood certification.
Cost control is a major issue for sourcing sustainable seafood. Logo fees add costs into the supply chain while funding some certification programs ability to exist. RFM lets the supply chain demonstrate proof of sustainable sourcing without having to pay any logo licensing fees for any use of the RFM logo.
RFM does not generate any revenue on the marketing of its logo, nor does its success depend on any financial gain through logo licensing. The RFM logo is used purely as a way for those with RFM Chain of Custody to communicate, at no cost, the origin and that their seafood is certified sustainable. RFM’s goal is to make certified sustainable and traceable seafood more accessible to all.
Organizations in the supply chain must undergo a CoC audit to receive their CoC certification, which is valid for three years with annual surveillance audits.
Key attributes of RFM Certification:
- Based on internationally recognized criteria from the United Nation’s FAO
- Consumer-facing eco-label – RFM Certified logo has zero logo-licensing fees!
- RFM Certified logo allows companies to highlight certified sustainable seafood and preserve the Origin
- Third-party accredited program provides impartiality
- Sound governance structure
- Stakeholder engagement
- Chain of Custody certification provides traceability through the supply chain back to its origin
- Transparent and collaborative assessment process
- Recognized by credible organizations – 1st to be recognized by GSSI