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What is a fishery?

A ‘fishery’ in the MSC program may include one or more ‘units of certification’. A unit of certification is usually defined by reference to the following:
•    Target fish species and stock
•    Geographic area of fishing
•    Fishing method, gear, practice and/or vessel type

The unit(s) of certification of a fishery sets out exactly what is under assessment. If the fishery is certified, only fish from the named unit(s) of certification will be able to carry the MSC ecolabel in the marketplace.

If a fishery has more than one unit of certification, when the certifier makes a decision about whether or not the fishery meets the MSC standard, it is possible that some units can pass while others, that don’t meet the standard, fail. Only seafood from units of certification that meet the MSC standard and are certified can carry the blue MSC ecolabel.

Fishery client name
In some cases the fishery client name will be included in the name of a fishery. In these cases, the fishery will usually be limited to the members of the client group. The fishery may then only include some, not all, of the vessels fishing a stock.

How is the unit of certification decided?

The unit(s) of certification is decided by the fishery client at the beginning of the assessment process, with advice from the certifier.

More information

For more information please contact fisheries@msc.org.

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