Case study

Delivering better post-Brexit fisheries certification


Working in the uncertain environment of Brexit and the pandemic lockdown, Opencast worked with Defra's Marine Maritime Organisation to help build a new online certification system for the efficient, compliant export of fisheries products to the EU. 


Brexit meant that UK fish exporters would need to provide certificates demonstrating their catches complied with legislation – and MMO needed a simple online system to deliver this.

The new system would allow them to generate catch certificates, processing statements and storage documents providing the required traceability on goods being imported into the UK and exported to the EU. Fast work was needed to meet tight deadlines. 

Black Marine Management Organisation logo


Opencast joined the fisheries project in 2019, working with Capgemini and Defra’s digital technology services team.  

Working within a pre-agreed system design, the Opencast team wired up the back end so that the information fishermen entered online could be validated against other data sources. We enhanced the front-end journey by allowing multiple submissions. We also worked on required system upgrades.

The Opencast team aligned project tracking and reporting in Confluence and Jira, enabling collaboration and understanding the status of projects. Approaches included test-driven development, agile iterative delivery, pair programming and mobbing.

A close up of someone holding a green marker


The team worked well within the constraints of the system, hitting deadlines within budgets for the engineering work we were brought in to do. Our developers worked on the live validation system and built in an option to switch off blocking of certificates if the new system had any issues.

Project performance was maintained when the pandemic lockdown hit, with the team successfully transitioning from office to remote working overnight. Productivity increased, despite the multi-supplier team dispersed across the country.

The entire team collaborated closely on the project, giving all a sense of ownership on what was being delivered. Everyone involved knew what was being created and how it was going to be done.

Commenting on the project, Opencast agile technical lead Juan Rodriguez said: “We delivered as an effective team, and our input and strong team processes helped stakeholders work together better, earning their respect as a result. Opencast were seen as problem solvers and the people to answer difficult questions.”

We delivered as an effective team, and our input and strong team processes helped stakeholders work together better