MSC Chain of Custody standard V3 — Marine Stewardship Council
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MSC Chain of Custody standard V3


The MSC Chain of Custody standard ensures that the MSC ecolabel is only displayed on seafood from an MSC certified sustainable fishery.

The first MSC Chain of Custody standard for seafood traceability was established in December 1999. In August 2005, following international consultation, Version 2 of the standard came into use. In accordance with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Standards and FAO Guidelines the MSC Board of Trustees commissioned a review of the Chain of Custody standard Version 2 in August 2010. Following the Board’s decision, two public consultation rounds were held:

1. The first public consultation on the revision ran from 23 September to 22 October 2010. Consultees were asked to concentrate on 4 general questions about the direction of the standard revision.

2. The second public consultation was held from 1 April to 3 May 2011. During this round consultees were presented with a draft Chain of Custody standard on which they were asked to comment.


Chain of Custody standard version 3 has been shaped in order to:

  • Harmonise the format and structure of the document to improve consistency.
  • Eliminate duplication by bringing sections and requirements that address similar topics into one location.
  • Ensure that the content is clear and unambiguous.
  • Define requirements that reflect seafood business reality
  • Be locally applicable with global consistency

The standard aims to be pragmatic and implementable by a broad range of businesses while still respecting the uniqueness of each business in the seafood industry. Its intention is to be:

  • valid on global scale
  • valid across all sectors

Results of the consultation 

Comments were received by a range of stakeholders, specifically from certification bodies and Chain of Custody certificate holders. MSC provides specific responses via email to consultees on comments received.

These comments were considered by the MSC's Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and addressed where appropriate in the final version of the Chain of Custody standard, now available for download here.

Next steps

The new standard was issued to certifiers in August 15th, 2011. Applicant organisations will be assessed against this standard from the 14th of November 2011. Existing certificate holders must be in conformity with the standard from the 14th of November 2012.

Further information

Please direct any enquiries to:

Evi Mateboer
MSC Product Integrity Manager

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