Peterhead Harbour’s Merchant Quay Fishmarket has become the first fish market in Europe to achieve a prestigious industry accreditation.


The market has attained the BRC (British Retail Consortium) Global Standard for Storage and Distribution which is regarded as the international benchmark for the handling of food produce. The BRC standard identifies best practice in areas of quality, hygiene and product safety, ensuring compliance with food safety legislation.


There have been significant advances in recent years in improving the quality of fish sold to the consumer. Fishing boats have invested in new equipment, procedures and practices to keep fish in tip top condition up to the point of landing. Processors have done their bit with many already having achieved a comparable standard. It is important that Peterhead Port Authority demonstrates that the fish market completes the food safety chain between a fish being caught and sold on the supermarket shelf.


In order to achieve the accreditation, Peterhead Port Authority, which operates the market, had to demonstrate that the facility met or exceeded the benchmark standards. An independent audit is conducted to verify compliance.


The thorough approval process involved ensuring that a host of features – including hazard and risk analysis, quality management systems, hygiene procedures and personnel – all met the demanding standards set by the BRC.


Peterhead Port Authority’s Senior Assistant Harbour Master, Capt Jerry Ewart said “We’re delighted to have become the first fish market in Europe to achieve this prestigious industry accreditation. As part of the process we updated some market procedures. I would like to thank our staff, customers and market users for the positive way that they have embraced these changes. We also appreciate the assistance received from Scottish Food Quality Certification for guiding us through the process”


In 2010, the fishmarket – which covers 2,850 sq ft of space and which was designed to create optimum conditions for the preservation of catches – handled nearly 1,000,000 boxes of fish, valued, in total, at £50’m.


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