Scoring guidance
for version 1.2

Summary Guide to Fishery Assessment Rating

Note: This is a summary of the Fishery Assessment Rating. For full details, please contact ASMI at

Scoring Guidance

Click here for a PDF of the Scoring Guidance for Alaska RFM Certification.

The Alaska RFM Certification is an ISO 17065 accredited, third party certification program used by various fisheries. The Alaska RFM Conformance Criteria are based on the following United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) documents, which also provide the guidance for the design and management of credible, third party certification programs:

  • The 1995 UN FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (FAO Code)
  • The FAO Committee of Fisheries in the 2005/2009 Guidelines for the Eco-labelling of Fish and Fishery Products for Marine Capture Fisheries FAO Guidelines)
  • The October 1996 FAO Fisheries Circular No. 917

The following is a summary of the assessment methodology used to determine the level of conformity to the Alaska RFM Conformance Criteria:

  • The assessment is carried out by a qualified, competent assessment team, expert in the key areas of fisheries management specific to the applicant fishery. This includes: fishery management processes, stock assessment, the conservation of the fishery habitat/s and the ecosystem effects of the fishery
  • Information for the assessment is obtained directly from the fishery and can include: official publications by the fisheries management system, associated scientific publications, related fishery based records, reports and data; and information obtained from site visit audits of the management agencies, fishery participants and other stakeholders in the fishery
  • Depending on the information supplied, there may be gaps identified and the assessment team will accordingly issue either a Minor, Major or Critical Non-Conformance (Table 1 Defines non-conformances and their allocation)
  • A Critical Non-Conformance results in a failed fishery
  • Non-Conformances do not specify what action the client fishery should take. Development of this action plan is the responsibility of the client fishery managers
  • Conformity to every given clause (137 in total) is based on the expert determination and collective consensus of the assessment team. Should consensus not be achieved, the team will default to the lower score
  • Table 2 details the number of Non-Conformances allowed per Category and per Fishery Assessment. Note that even within the allowed number of Non-Conformances, a fishery will not be able to proceed to the certification stage unless the Client provides evidence of a corrective action plan for each Non-Conformance
  • Annual Surveillance Assessments are conducted to confirm continued conformity and, as needed, will verify the action plans made by the client fisheries

Table 1: Non-Conformance Definition and Allocation

PassWhere full conformance to a given requirement (clause) is observed.
MinorWhere there is identified a minor gap in information/evidence required to demonstrate compliance of a clause.
MajorWhere the information/evidence requirement of a clause is met only to a limited degree.
CriticalWhere there is a complete absence of conformity for a given clause.

Table 2: Fail Thresholds Per Conformance Criteria Category and Per Fishery Assessment

A. The Management System39No Critical NC are allowed, 1 Critical NC = FAIL1 Major NC Allowed Per Category3 Minor NC’s Allowed per Category
B: Science and Stock Assessment Activities25
C: The Precautionary Approach11
D: Management Measures24
E: Implementation, Monitoring and Control10
F: Serious Impacts of the Fishery on the Ecosystem28
CATEGORIES A – F (see above)137No Critical NC are allowed, 1 Critical NC = FAILUp to 6 Majors (provided no more than 1 Major in any one category and no Minor in any one category) See Table 3Up to 18 Minors (provided no Major in the same category and no more than 3 Minors in any one category) See Table 3

Table 3: Fail Threshold For Non-Conformance Combination

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