SEAFISH, the industry authority on seafood, has launched a new tool to assist seafood buyers make informed purchasing decisions for their businesses.
The free online platform, Risk Assessment for Sourcing Seafood (RASS), will give the entire UK supply chain of seafood buyers – in the wholesale, foodservice and retail sectors – greater clarity over the status of the seafood they are purchasing both at stock and fisheries levels.
The introduction of RASS comes as the industry has continued to call for consistency of seafood sourcing standards, and reinforces the need for robust and up-to-date information in order to make informed decisions.
RASS fishery profiles will contain information on stock status, the efficacy of management, as well as seafloor habitat and bycatch impacts.
The first tranche of around 100 profiles based on the most common species bought in the UK including haddock, cod and tuna are available now and profiles will continue to be added over the coming months.
Crucially, the tool will also eventually address ethical and welfare issues around sourcing seafood that remains an area of great concern for the industry.
While information on what fish to eat already exists from a number of sources, Seafish believes that RASS will enable commercial buyers to make informed choices that comply with their own internal policies or procedures for purchasing seafood; rather than having to adopt those of advisory organisations.
Tom Pickerell, Seafish Technical Director, said: ‘As the industry authority on seafood, Seafish is committed to promoting best practice throughout the supply chain, from UK commercial fishermen to producers and ultimately retailers.
‘With RASS, we have for the first time created a single, powerful reference resource for commercial seafood buyers to consult in order to make sound sourcing decisions based on their own corporate philosophies rather than being told what seafood they should and should not buy.’
Katie Miller, Sustainable Seafood Coalition coordinator, said: ‘It’s encouraging to see much of the seafood industry focus on improving the sustainability of their fish and on ensuring they source responsibly.
‘Reliable information is crucial to addressing such a complex challenge. We expect the RASS tool to be very useful to suppliers, retailers and others evaluating the risk related to sourcing a particular fish. We look forward to seeing RASS develop to cover more fish stocks.’
Mike Mitchell, Group Technical and CSR Director at Young’s Seafood, said: ‘RASS is a robust and independent tool for businesses to use when making their seafood purchasing decisions.
‘The fishery and environmental science required to support those decision making processes can be complex and highly technical, information is often difficult to find and even harder to understand by seafood buyers, processors and retailers.
‘Because RASS is accessible to everybody, from the novice to the qualified fishery scientist, it has a huge appeal to all types of seafood business – from the very small to the very large.
Here at Young’s, we have fully supported the development of RASS and we foresee that it will play an important role within our own ever-evolving ‘Fish for Life’ program.’
RASS can be accessed at www.seafish.org/rass