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Scapeche - Responsible Fishing & a Secure Future for the toothfish Industry

Bureau Veritas was able to turn theory into a concrete process
Cecile Zannoni,
Sustainable development Manager 


The Patagonian toothfish (dissostichus eleginoides), is a deep-water species caught in southern ocean waters near and around Antarctica.  During the 1990s, its firm and delicious white meat won over consumers, especially in the U.S.  For fishermen, it became a highly prized catch for its cash value and was branded as “white gold”.  This combined with a decline in worldwide stocks, the remoteness of fishing grounds and lack of surveillance has encouraged harmful fishing practices from pirate and illegal boats.  A campaign in the U.S. has been encouraging consumers to ban toothfish altogether.  In order to assure Americans that its toothfish fishing practices are ethical and legal, Scapêche decided to build and execute a concrete sustainable development plan specific to the industry.  Although general theories on how to fish responsibly existed, there were no practical guidelines toothfish fishing. 


With end-customers in the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific, it was important for Scapêche to partner with an international third-party inspection body that not only held expertise in responsible fishing practices, but who also had trustworthy global brand recognition. Bureau Veritas, the first COFRAC  seafood accredited inspection body, used the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) Code of conduct for responsible fishing as the inspiration to create a concrete, practical set of measurement criteria specific to the toothfish industry.  After an initial diagnostic audit (ship review and its onsite processing facility), Bureau Veritas inspection with its seafood and marine engineers developed a plan for internal and external controls based on five security axes:  security of the natural resource, environment, employees, sanitation and product quality. To meet these high standards, Scapêche made improvements across the board.  For example, no night fishing and the following of strict capture quotas; using only biodegradable cleaning  products and non-polluting paint; planned rest for sailors and health insurance for all employees; lab testing for fish to demonstrate high quantities of omega 3 oils, and more.  Bureau Veritas was then able to issue Scapêche an attestation of responsible toothfish fishing.  In constant pursuit of excellence, Scapêche invites Bureau Veritas back for yearly follow-up audits to attest that the standards are not only vigorously maintained but also improved upon. 


A responsible fishing attestation from an outside inspection body adds credibility to Scapêche’s efforts and assures all stakeholders (consumers, importers, employees, investors and environmental agencies).  The future for the toothfish and its habitat is more secured, as is the well-being and employment for Scapêche’s staff.  Consumers can now enjoy eating toothfish, knowing that the product’s quality has been verified and that it comes from a legally and ethically practicing fishery. 

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> Client: Scapêche

> Client industry: fishing company

> Client size:
- Fleet of 19 boats
- 300 sailors and officers

> Client profile: Scapêche, a subsidiary of the French supermarket chain Intermarché, is a fleet of fishing boats that fish in French territories in the Atlantic, Austral and Antarctic oceans.  Its sailors fish, process and freeze seafood designated for general consumption in Europe, Asia-Pacific and America.  

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