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Traceability in the supply chain

The MSC ecolabel is only applied to fish and seafood products that come from an MSC-certified fishery. This is why every link in the supply chain, ‘from boat to plate’, undergoes a Chain of Custody audit for traceability. In February 2007 we launched our Traceability and Assurance in the Supply Chain (TASC) project to make our program even more robust.

The TASC project has been developed with the advice of key stakeholders and is supported by a working group of members of the MSC’s Technical Advisory Board, and other experts in the field.

The project focuses on: 

Checking system requirements and procedures

MSC requirements should encourage best practice, and be fair and clear for users. The Chain of Custody standard and certification requirements are closely monitored, reviewed and enforced to ensure they uphold the values of quality and consistency in assessments. Where needed, guidance is issued or updated to respond to emerging challenges in supply chain verification.

Verifying robust systems

The MSC has two main methods for checking how well the Chain of Custody system is working: tracebacks down the supply chain from the point of sale to the fishery and DNA testing of MSC labelled products. Other methods include random checks by certifiers and a system for double-checking claims. Read about the latest DNA testing results.

Supporting certifiers

Chain of Custody assessments are undertaken by independent, third-party certifiers. Their knowledge of the supply chain is invaluable and informs the TASC project. Additionally, certifiers need the MSC to provide up to date training and information to communicate and implement changes to the Chain of Custody standard and methodology.

Labelling and product naming

Ensure that MSC ecolabel licensing and Chain of Custody certification programs are mutually supportive and promote clear and accurate information for seafood buyers and consumers. 

Internal MSC systems

The MSC’s internal systems should be structured and accessible so that they are effective tools to manage and communicate the status of certificates to relevant audiences.

How to participate?

The TASC project is supported by an expert working group. If you would like to be considered as a member of the group or wish to register your interest as a stakeholder, please contact


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