Scandaniavan Fishing Vessel - Credit Gestur- stock.adobe

Fishing vessels

Expert classification and sustainability services

Worth over $400 billion USD, the global seafood industry depends on a global fleet of fishing vessels. From trawlers, to crabbers, to tuna seiners, fishing vessels come in many sizes and designs, and sail worldwide. This variety and geographical spread makes the fishing segment particularly decentralized, presenting unique challenges in terms of classification, sustainability and social responsibility.

To help ship owners ensure the safety and reliability of their fishing vessels, Bureau Veritas’ global network provides key classification services. We offer dedicated classification rules and class notations for different operating conditions and equipment, including systems for automation and refrigeration. We also support vessel owners in using more sustainable fuels and alternative propulsion methods, and ensuring the safety and responsible treatment of crewmembers.

Key Benefits

  • Ensure that newbuilds are constructed in compliance with classification rules specific to fishing vessels
  • Assess the safety and ongoing compliance of vessels throughout operations with regular surveys
  • Ensure that the design, equipment, and construction of fishing vessels complies with statutory regulations
  • Protect the rights and ensure the fair treatment of fishermen and crewmembers onboard fishing vessels
  • Improve the sustainability of fishing vessels with alternative fuels and propulsion methods
Fishing Vessel

Key classification services for newbuilds

For fishing vessel owners looking to class their newbuilds, Bureau Veritas offers dedicated rules. Our services ensure the compliance of newbuilds from the start, as we provide design review, materials and equipment certification and sea trial monitoring. We also provide an optional notation, TORRE, for vessels that comply with the Torremolinos Convention.

Bureau Veritas extensive network of surveyors on board

Providing surveys for in-service vessels

By maintaining class throughout a vessel’s lifecycle, owners can prove the ongoing safety and compliance of their ships. Bureau Veritas provides a key framework for assessing vessel operations and condition, establishing a regular schedule of surveys. Our surveyors inspect at-risk areas, use clear acceptance criteria for hull structure and onboard installations, and develop a vessel-specific report.


offering statutory surveys worldwide

Flag administrations can delegate inspections to verify that fishing vessels are compliant with national and international regulations for safety and environmental protection. Bureau Veritas works on behalf of flag administrations worldwide, with our more than 350 qualified auditors performing voluntary audits to check vessel compliance with the ISM Code.

Fishermen at work - Credit BV

Performing social audits to protect fishermen

Shipowners have a responsibility to ensure that crewmembers’ working conditions are safe and humane. Bureau Veritas performs audits for a variety of voluntary standards that help vessel owners protect workers, addressing working conditions, labor contracts and onboard accommodations. We audit vessels against the Fairness, Integrity, Safety and Health (FISH) Standard for Crew, the Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard (RFVS) and the Maritime Labour Convention.

Discover our services for the seafood industry

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Fishing vessel- sunset

Improving sustainability for fishing vessels

Minimizing environmental impact is increasingly a priority for the fishing industry. However, for fishing vessels – which range in size from 12-100 meters, carry many types of equipment, and change course frequently – improving sustainability can be complex. Bureau Veritas offer owners support in transitioning to cleaner, alternative fuels (e.g., LNG, ammonia) and new propulsion methods (e.g., electric-hybrid power), accounting for vessel-specific needs.

Fishing crew on the fishing Vessel - Refrigeration systems

inspecting onboard refrigeration systems

For fishing vessels, having properly functioning refrigeration technology onboard is indispensable to keeping the day’s catch cold. Bureau Veritas helps owners preserve the value of their haul, inspecting and verifying the proper installation of refrigeration systems. Our QUICKFREEZE notation for the refrigerated areas of fishing vessels and factory ships ensures that the design and equipment of these units meets specific standards.


Protecting the marine environment

Fishing vessel owners can take several voluntary actions to help protect the ocean and marine habitats. Bureau Veritas offers an Underwater Radiated Noise notation for ships that successfully minimize onboard noise and vibrations that disturb undersea creatures. In collaboration with the Fondation de la Mer and the French Ministry of the Sea, we have also developed the Ocean Approved® label, for stakeholders taking concrete action to limit their impact on the sea.

Cyber Security - Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore

advancing into the era of digitalization

Ships of all types are increasingly connected to onshore and offshore networks and fitted with data collection sensors. Bureau Veritas helps owners protect their assets with two notations for cyber security: CYBER MANAGED and CYBER SECURE. We also support owners in leveraging ship digitalization to improve maintenance, increase data collection, limit survey costs and manage onboard safety.

Offshore fish farming

Filling the aquaculture regulation gap

While growing to meet global protein demands, the aquaculture industry nevertheless has challenges to overcome. Operationally, these include pollution, disease and escaping fish. Fish farm operators are also under pressure to improve their environmental footprint, though relatively little regulation exists for their industry.

Leveraging our knowledge of fixed and floating installations and offshore structures, Bureau Veritas supports the aquaculture industry in achieving high standards of safety and performance. Using our dedicated NR 387 Rules for the classification of fish farms, we class and certify floating fish farm installations covering floating structures, equipment, stability rules, machinery, power and safety.

In China, we have recently certified two aquaculture units developed by the Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion. New projects are emerging the world over, including in Scandinavia, the USA, South Asia, Australasia and Latin America.

Our marine and offshore expertise is complimented by Bureau Veritas’ Industry division’s services for the certification of seafood and our membership of the Eurocord association.

Read our insight on offshore fish farming

Cover Photo Credit: Gestur -