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I’m very excited by the news we’ve announced today. We’ve made a commitment to Seafish, an industry body which promotes good quality, sustainable seafood, that we will back its Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS).

We’ve become the first retailer to say that all vessels within our supply chains must be RFS certified, or be working towards a time bound plan to achieve certification, within the next five years. This applies worldwide, but UK suppliers must have done so by the end of next year. It is early days for the scheme, which is very much in its infancy, so we hope that our support and commitment will boost the roll out both at home and overseas.

It is a major step forward in my world. The RFS provides tangible evidence that the seafood caught by a fishing vessel has been responsibly caught and handled and that the boat has the highest standards on crew welfare, fair pay, health and safety and human rights. 

I’m proud to say that we work alongside some of best seafood suppliers in the world, consistently demonstrating leading standards when it comes to ethical and environmental practices.

Whether it’s pole and line fishermen caching tuna for us in the Maldives, Orkney vessels potting for crab (find out more and see our video here) or our Scottish haddock suppliers, they really do lead the way when it comes to responsible capture and handling, giving us and our customers seafood of the highest quality.

But we’re not complacent, and we know we must always show our customers that we’re doing everything we can to protect the marine environment and those working in our seafood supply chains.

The fishing industry is not without its challenges and we must be clear to our supply base that we will only accept the highest standards, whether that’s product quality, environmental management or fair pay, health and wellbeing for fishermen.

We in the industry believe that RFS will do for fishing standards what the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has done for fish stocks – bring together the industry and retailers so that we’re all working towards a sustainable future.

M&S cannot influence an industry on its own. We are a very small player in the global market and that’s why working with bodies like Seafish and supporting schemes like RFS, is so important for us and for our customers, who want to buy the best seafood on the market.