To continue to provide the highest assurance of responsible fisheries management of Alaska's fisheries, the board of directors of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), Juneau, Alaska, voted to enhance the Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification program.

"We've built a credible third-party certification program for our industry and customers, and we are evolving the program. Just as Alaska's fishery managers and biologists are dedicated to improvements in the fishery management system, we too remain committed to continuous improvement with RFM," says Michael Cerne, ASMI executive director.

Improvement of the RFM certification program includes:

Governance. ASMI will provide further well-defined governance and clarity addressing ownership and fishery client ship. Additionally, ASMI will establish terms of reference and membership for the RFM Conformance Criteria Committee. The further definition and clarity of governance will facilitate the participation of additional certification bodies (CBs). Interested ISO-accredited CBs may express interest in participation. Guidance documents will be made available in the future; announcement to follow at a later date.

Strategic task force. The ASMI board directed Cerne to work with board chairman Kevin Adams to create a strategic task force composed of the board, industry and technical experts. This task force will further the acceptance and use of RFM certification by Alaska's seafood customers and the Alaska seafood industry, as well as consider new client relationships with RFM certifying bodies.

Work plan for improvements. A work plan for each of the improvement areas will be posted to ASMI's website.

RFM certification is an independent third-party fisheries certification program with formal ISO accreditation. RFM is directly based on the world's most comprehensive and respected fisheries management guidelines developed by the United Nations Fisheries and Agriculture Organization, developed through collaboration amongst governments, scientists and conservationists. Currently, eight of Alaska's major fisheries are RFM certified—salmon, halibut, black cod, Alaska Pollock, cod, BSAI king and snow crab and flatfish.