Version 2.1

Fisheries Standard

RFM Fisheries Standard Version 2.1 is A Reissue of Version 2.0 Reflecting That the Scope is Changing From Alaska Only Fisheries to North American Fisheries Operating Within the U.S. and Canadian 200 NM EEZ

Letter of Temporary Variance | Updated: September 2021

Fisheries Standard Version 2.1 | Issued: September 2020 | Effective: October 1, 2020

Scoring Guidance for V2.1 | Issued: January 2021| Effective: January 2021

Data Deficient Fisheries Scoring Guidance for V2.0 

(This guidance is currently being revised for V2.1, for now please use V2.0 Scoring Guidance for Data Deficient Fisheries)


Certified Fisheries can choose to use the new V2.1 Standard immediately but will be given a period of at least three years to come into compliance with revised fishery standard V2.1. Surveillance audits for existing certified fisheries will continue to be against RFM V1.3 (the outgoing standard) until May 2021 unless the Fishery specifically requests an assessment against the new RFM V2.1 Standard.

How the RFM Fishery Standard (V2.1) Was Developed and What’s New:

The RFM Standard has been in existence since 2010 and is now on Version 2.1. The originally stated remit of the RFM Standard and program is to ensure:

“Responsible Fisheries Management, including enhancement practices (but excluding full cycle aquaculture), up to the point of landing, with the main objective being the biological sustainability of the “stock under consideration”, with consideration for conservation, biodiversity and ecosystem integrity; and due regard to social responsibility and the economic viability of the fishery.”

The RFM Fisheries Standard V 2.1 includes many substantial changes, adding depth and robustness to the RFM Certification Program. Revisions are based on needs for improvements and required components of Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) global benchmark tool.

In summary, the changes and improvements to RFM Fisheries Standard V 2.1 include:

  • Rewording of complex clauses;
  • General housekeeping and restructuring;
  • Fusion of clauses with overlapping requirements;
  • Arranging 6 Key Principles for evaluating fisheries into 4 Key Sections;
  • Inclusion of specific metrics and indicators;
  • Improved specificity of some clauses (e.g. stock status, ecosystem components, etc…);
  • Review of additional FAO documentation and related inclusion of some clauses;
  • Scoring and Guidance document improvements;
  • Development of an addendum and framework for Data Deficient Fisheries assessments;
  • Modification of the scoring matrix from a descriptive to a numerical system;
  • The RFM Fishery Standard is not applicable to deep-sea fisheries;
  • Scope change from Alaska only fisheries to North American fisheries operating within the U.S. and Canadian 200nm EEZ;

The certification process of client fisheries wishing to be assessed against the RFM Version 2.1 standard follows a similar process to fisheries certified to RFM Version 1.3 and will remain in full compliance with ISO 17065 accreditation requirements for the operation of a certification program.

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