Scallopers sign up to Responsible Fishing
A top Devon seafood processor is sourcing all of its scallops from Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) vessels after sponsoring four boats through the programme, according to Seafish, the authority on seafood, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Seafish.
Coombe Fisheries, which specialises in scallops for the European market and local restaurant trade, has funded four vessels to join the Scheme. The remainder of the vessels supplying the company are already RFS-certified.
Director of Coombe Fisheries, Iain Spear, said joining the Scheme, which assesses best practice in fishing methods and responsible sourcing, demonstrates that scallop fishers do care about their impact on the environment.
"Achieving RFS certification shows that, with the right methods and knowledge, scallops can still be responsibly sourced.
"We want to achieve a fairer and more accurate perception of the scallop industry from opinion formers - and ultimately reassure our customers that they're eating a quality, well-sourced product."
Scallopers joining RFS have to work with relevant authorities to carry out assessments for activities that could affect conservation features and, where possible, join non-statutory schemes to conserve habitats of nature conservation importance.
Mick Bacon, RFS Coordinator, said: "It is timely that Coombe Fisheries have joined RFS when the scallop sector, in general, is going through a period of positive change. The Scallop Strategy Group is developing a Code of Conduct that will promote sustainable scallop fisheries, while giving adequate protection to sensitive seabed habitats and species. There are also many simple but effective tools and technologies emerging that can assist scallopers in fishing more responsibly."
The Responsible Fishing Scheme was created by Seafish in response to the needs of the seafood supply chain to demonstrate their commitment to the responsible sourcing of seafood. The aim is that over time it will become a condition of supply. Based on a Publicly Available Specification from the British Standards Institution (BSi), the Responsible Fishing Scheme is an independent, audited assessment of the application of good practice by a vessel skipper and crew in their fishing operations.