Traceability within a Fishery under Assessment — Marine Stewardship Council
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Traceability within a Fishery under Assessment


Each fishery certification report contains a traceability assessment where conformity assessment bodies (CABs) describe the assessment of traceability practices implemented by fisheries. CABs determine whether fish caught in the unit of certification is eligible to carry the MSC ecolabel.
The MSC decided to review these requirements to add criteria of determination and to improve consistency of interpretation by CABs.


The MSC consulted on the proposed changes to the requirements to determine the eligibility of fish to enter certified supply chains and carry the MSC ecolabel. Proposed revised requirements aimed to:

  • Ensure specific risk factors are taken into consideration by CBs assessing the traceability and segregation systems of fisheries in assessment.
  • Ensure the scope of the fishery certificate is clearly delimited. CBs are required to determine from which point in the supply chain fish is required to be covered by a CoC certificate.
  • Ensure the content of the traceability section of each Fishery Public Comment Draft report is clear and unambiguous.

Results of the consultation

Comments were received by a range of stakeholders, who were generally supportive. Particular concerns about clarity to some requirements were raised by some of the stakeholders. As a result, the MSC reworded some of them before submitting the final draft to the MSC Technical Advisory Board (TAB). MSC provides specific responses via email to consultees on comments received.

The TAB signed off the requirements pending one further change being made to better manage cases where Chain of Custody certification is required on board vessels.

The revised requirements can be found in part C section 27.12 in the MSC Certification Requirements. They will become effective on November 14th.

Next steps

Certifiers will begin using new requirements as of November 14th, 2011.

Further information

Please direct any enquiries to:

Nicolas Viart
MSC Product Integrity Manager



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