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Certification process


Certification is an integral and indispensable part of a labelling program. To provide assurance to the buyers and the consumers that the fish coming from the Seychelles traditional line-fishing has been caught using responsible fishing techniques (hook-and-line), and in full respect of the fishermen’s commitments, we have established a control mechanism.


With the support of the Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS) we have initiated rules and procedures allowing SBS to assess our commitments against established standard criteria and requirements. The rules define how fishing units can obtain, retain and use certification - necessary to use the label tagged onto fish - as well as possible suspension and withdrawal from the programme.


To maintain the credibility of our certification programme, the certification process is performed by the SBS, independently from outside influence, and with a decision making process insulated from FBOA vested interests in the outcome of the certification.


The SBS was established as a government regulatory agency (SBS Act) in 1987. The core activities of the SBS are: Standardization, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing. In December 1996, the SBS attained certification status ISO 9002 quality management system which helped to put the organisation on the forefront of quality management and control in Seychelles. This certification status was changed to ISO 9001:2000 in October 2002 when the standard was revised.


During the certification process, SBS conducts a conformity assessment. The SBS standards officer is assisted by one technician from the Fish Inspection Unit and one fisheries officer from the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).


To obtain SBS certification, fishermen are required to place tags on the fish which complies with the labelling prerequisites, and make sure their fishing units and boats satisfy the applicable requirements.


The programme has set reference standards/criteria and 20 requirements (commitments) to be respected by the fishermen. These can be categorized as follows:

  • Fishing technique
  • Characteristics of boat and crew
  • Processing and labelling of the catch
  • Storage of fish onboard
  • Storage and disposal of waste


The hook-and-line Label Program is voluntary. To join, fishing boat owners must sign a “commitment letter” in which requirements have been translated into commitments.


There are two major steps to join the programme:

1. Pre-conformity assessment by the FBOA

Before agreeing, the FBOA performs a pre-conformity assessment of the fishing unit.

Upon positive completion of this stage, the boat owner and the fishermen sign the commitment letter and they fully engage to respect these obligations.


2. External control: Conformity assessment by the SBS

For all new entrants, SBS carries out a conformity assessment of their fishing units.

For registered fishing units, regular and random conformity assessments are carried out by SBS, with at least one compliance assessment per year per fishing unit.

The SBS also reserves the right to make additional conformity assessment of fishing units, in the event of complaints, or non-conformity of products/methods to the requirements of the reference standards.


If non-conformity is detected during the assessment, the SBS will issue a non-conformity report to the FBOA and the fishing boat owner, with recommendations and corrective actions to be undertaken. The fishing unit is granted a period of three months to make the necessary corrections. After this period, the SBS will perform another conformity assessment to verify that all major non-conformities have been rectified.


The participation in the label programme may be suspended or withdrawn in the following specific cases:

  • Serious non-conformities found during assessment have not been corrected within the time limit established by SBS.
  • The fishing unit refuses to abide by the conformity assessment from SBS.


The suspension or withdrawal is notified to the FBOA and to the fishing boat owner by official letter, stating the conditions for re-incorporating the program, and the date by which the new conditions are to be complied with.


Participation in the programme will be restored once it has been found that the shortcomings that led to the suspension have been eliminated.


A certified fishing unit, upon withdrawal of the label programme, must discontinue to use all marketing material provided by the programme, and must stop tagging the fish.


In case of withdrawal of the label programme, the FBOA will update the official list of fishing units published on the web site which participate in the Label Program.

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