About Improvers Programme
The IFFO RS Improvers Programme (IP) is an organised programme developed by the IFFO RS Governance Board. The rationale behind this initiative is to encourage Marine Ingredient producing factories, which at present would be unable to meet the IFFO RS Standard, either because of a lack of fisheries management, or factory infrastructure and operational issues, to implement improvements that would allow them to eventually comply with the IFFO RS Standard.
The agreed route decided by the IFFO RS Governance Board is to support these organisations through a structured IFFO RS Improvers Programme which will insist that all applicants, once accepted on to this process, will need to have a defined improvement journey with agreed time frames and milestones that will eventually lead them to meet the requirements of the IFFO RS Standard.
IFFO and the IFFO RS Governance Board (IFFO RS GB) noted that, despite the initial success of the IFFO RS Standard, there are still a lot of producers of marine ingredients that fail to meet the requirements of the IFFO RS Standard. This could be due to a range of problems within the plant or because of problems regarding raw materials and associated fisheries. Many of these producers are located in areas where aquaculture is considerably increasing, principally in Asia. This means that local companies producing balanced feed for fish and aquaculture companies wishing to use marine ingredients IFFO RS should import these products, which increases production costs and contributes to the impoverishment of the local economy.
The IFFO RS GB have considered and rejected diluting either the IFFO RS Standard or to maintain two different standards. The agreed alternative was to develop a program properly structured to align with the IFFO RS Standard to encourage producers of marine ingredients, which currently do not meet the IFFO RS Standard requirements.
The objective of the IFFO RS IP is to implement a robust and credible programme, allied to the IFFO RS Version 2.0 Standard, at approved IFFO RS IP factories which at present are struggling to meet the IFFO RS Version 2.0 Standard Certification criteria. Implementation of this Improvers Programme will allow IFFO RS IP factories to reach compliance with the IFFO RS Version 2.0 Standard in a defined period of time.
Proposed New Changes
In order to allow recognition of other Standards and become aligned with current internationally recognised Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) guidelines, IFFO RS has proposed to review and refine the IFFO RS Fisheries Improvers Programme Acceptance Mechanism to support organisations through a structured improvement process.
To continue with the development of the Fisheries Improvers Programme Acceptance Mechanism, IFFO RS has produced a draft of the full Acceptance procedures that consists of requirements, assessment methodology, potential outcomes and other relevant measures. The full draft of the Acceptance procedures was made available for a 30 day public consultation period.
Parallel to this, IFFO RS is reviewing the Factories Improvers Programme Acceptance Mechanism to ensure the procedures remain robust and fit for purpose as well as bringing them in line with the IFFO RS Version 2.0 Standard.