Seafish has recently published a new guidance document, which aims to support the industry to adapt to key legislative changes around information to be made available to seafood consumers.
From the 13 December, new EU regulations require consumers to be provided with detail of the fishing gear used to catch their seafood, and a more precise indication of catch area for fish caught in some areas.
These incoming additions build on existing legislative requirements for industry to provide consumers with the commercial designation, species, production method and catch area for unprocessed seafood products. These will also include whether the product has been defrosted and the date of minimum durability for some products.
Peter Wilson, part of the regulation team at Seafish, explained: "These regulations only came into force in December last year and we have been receiving a high level of enquiries ever since. Industry members were looking for support in the interpretation of these new requirements and guidance on how their products should be labelled. This new guidance has been produced in response to these enquiries and aims to ensure that this legislation is well-understood by industry, in order that they can be fully prepared for these new developments in December 2014."
The major change is the requirement to make consumers aware that product has been caught in the North East Atlantic now requires the reference to a particular sub area contained within it instead. So reference will now have to be made to areas such as the North Sea, Baltic and Bristol Channel. This is a significant change and requires the industry to consider how this information can be made available throughout the supply chain.
"To help keep industry informed, we have hosted a number of seminars in Grimsby, Peterhead, London and Shetland," added Wilson.
"We have received some great, positive feedback on these events, and will be delivering a session in Northern Ireland in November."
The guide is now available on the Seafish website