3 min

Spain’s fishing industry takes Kiwa on board

Spanish fishing association CEPESCA wants to work responsibly and sustainably. Kiwa helps.

Kiwa Spain offers certification, inspection and training services to the Food, Feed and Farm, Medical-pharmaceutical and Water sectors.

In 2019, the company took its first steps into the fishing sector by partnering with CEPESCA, the largest association of fishing businesses in Spain. Founded in 2007, the organization brings together 800 companies, 861 vessels and around 10,000 workers, and it accounts for 50% of catches nationwide. In the EU, Spain is the first producer of fishery products with 20% of total EU production, and generates 22% of fishing employment.


CEPESCA’s Javier Garat and Kiwa’s Juan Cardona sign the deal between the two parties.

On the 12th of February 2019, during World Maritime Week at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, the two partners signed an agreement in which Kiwa has committed to ensure the quality of processes and standards for associated businesses. The two parties hope to mutually benefit from international contacts and experience, both in this first stage and in possible future projects.

Kiwa’s Juan Cardona is pleased CEPESCA chose Kiwa. “CEPESCA sees in us an important partner who can meet its members’ needs when it comes to quality,” he explains. “Our professionalism in developing services and our experience in working with retailers is of added value to them.” He adds that for Kiwa Spain the new agreement is an excellent gateway into the sea food and fishing sector.

Becoming futureproof

Certification and inspection will be the main activities Kiwa offers the Spanish fishery business. “The goal – and the challenge – is to partner with CEPESCA for progress,” Cardona comments. “We will start with inspection for trademarks registered under quality brands, focusing on fulfilling new local requirements.”

Helping the businesses under CEPESCA’s umbrella become future-proof is also a priority. “We intend to help Spain’s fishing businesses stay ahead of the game, for example by studying new Spanish legislation regarding sustainability, hygiene and traceability.”

Javier Garat, Secretary General of CEPESCA, adds: “There is no doubt that we need to fish in a responsible and sustainable way, considering environmental, social and economic factors. But we also need to promote responsible trade throughout the entire value chain. In order to do so, we need a good traceability system that offers the guarantees consumers demand. We also need to promote quality brands.”

Keeping in step internationally

For most businesses, improving in these areas is necessary, but challenging, comments Cardona. “New and challenging technologies are also emerging on the market – one example is blockchain. CEPECSA has a varied member base. Some work on the local market, others in retail, and still others in the international fishing industry. They all strive to keep in step with the requirements for their situation, with some outperforming strict international standards, and others working hard to adapt to new market requirements.

Many companies need help converting to new, more consumer-driven business models. Certification and inspection are a vital part of change; this is where Kiwa can add value by engaging with the fishermen as a reliable, knowledgeable partner. CEPESCA promotes so-called vanguardism, which means it encourages the more advanced businesses among its members to pull the others forward. This is opening the way for many new projects.”

Carrying forward a legacy

Helping players in the supply chain meet other international standards is also important. Think, for example, of the sustainability standards established by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). Here, Kiwa Spain’s new customers at CEPESCA can rely on abundant knowledge and experience from within Kiwa’s own international network, for example in Nordic countries. Already, Cardona and his team are tapping into Kiwa Sweden’s expertise in MSC and ASC.


Garat notes that Spain’s fisheries have a rich legacy – and that Kiwa is well positioned to help them carry that legacy forward.

“Spanish fishermen do their best every day to provide healthy seafood to consumers, and the Spanish market is one of the most important in the world,” says Garat. “Fish and seafood are part of our culture, history and gastronomy. But we can still improve in traceability and quality brands, looking for added value for our products, and building trust in our clients. There is no doubt that Kiwa is the best partner to help us realize these goals. Kiwa has vital international experience in helping companies to obtain a good variety of certifications. They are a key partner for us in developing that added value we need. We hope we will have a very successful relationship in which we all win.”

There is no doubt that Kiwa is the best partner to help us realize our goals
Javier Garat, Secretary General of CEPESCA

Widening the net

CEPESCA and Kiwa Spain hope to benefit increasingly from each other’s international presence. Says Cardona, “CEPESCA is a Spanish association, but with important contacts in the European sector. Providing excellent services to CEPESCA can open doors to other international projects in the Food, Feed and Farm sectors elsewhere in the world. This is a big opportunity for us. And it is for CEPESCA as well. Our international experience and expertise of significant added value to them.”