Reviewing MSC standards
To ensure that the MSC program remains fit for purpose as the world’s leading certification program of wild capture fisheries the MSC standards are reviewed regularly.
Over 2013 – 2014, the MSC is undertaking a review of its sustainable fishing standard. This is to be in consistent with the MSC's commitment to best practice for ecolabelling and certification as set out by the FAO and ISEAL.
The review focuses on the MSC default assessment tree and other fishery client performance requirements. In addition, a speed and cost review happens in parallel to reform the fishery assessment process in order to reduce the time, cost and complexity of certification.
To ensure the review process is inclusive and transparent, the MSC has completed a series of consultations that encompassed the views of industry, NGOs, governments and scientists from all around the world. The feedback received during the review is currently being processed and will be incorporated into final proposals and presented to the Stakeholder Council and Technical Advisory Board in December 2013.
Thank you to all stakeholders who invested their time and expertise in ensuring the MSC program continues to meet global needs and best practice.
Guiding principles for changes to standard
At its February 2012 meeting in Madrid the MSC Board of Trustees set out MSC policy on changes to the standard or performance requirements.
1. Changes to the MSC standard or performance requirements, arising from new scientific knowledge and management best practice, should be made on the basis that:
a) there is improved scientific understanding, with widespread scientific support, to demonstrate that a change in the performance requirement is necessary to achieve the intentions of our principles and criteria, and more broadly the FAO Code of Conduct upon which our principles & criteria are based;
b) there is improved fishery management best practice, with growing support in fishery management and policy circles, that is accepted as being required and appropriate to achieve the FAO Code of Conduct, and by implication our principles and criteria.
2. The MSC Board of Trustees will ultimately make the decision on whether there is sufficient evidence to make changes to regulations and will typically require that both (a) and (b) are satisfied.
How MSC standards are reviewed
The standards are maintained by the MSC Technical Advisory Board and undergo an official review every 5 years in which stakeholder consultation is central. Reviews follow the that was developed with peer review and stakeholder involvement and updated in January 2013.
Changes to the standards may be proposed by the Technical Advisory Board, the MSC Board of Trustees, the Stakeholder Council or by the MSC Executive. Any changes that are made to the standards undergo a consultation period online and in-person to ensure that all interested parties may comment and are included. The Interested Parties Advisory Committee, for which the Stakeholder Council may propose members, then reviews the comments and inputs of stakeholders alongside the technical content of the changes. Formalisation of changes only occurs after an extensive cycle of consultation with stakeholders.
In January 2013 the MSC began a review of the fishery standard, together with a review of the speed & cost of the certification process. Find out more about the fishery standard review and speed & cost review.
Comment on the MSC standards and requirements
You can comment on or make a complaint against the MSC Standards and requirements at any time. Please save, complete and submit your feedback using the MSC standards comments form.
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