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The MSC has several improvement tools to support the progress of fisheries towards MSC certification.

The MSC tools can be used by any fishery working towards sustainability through a Fishery Improvement Project.

The following tools are mandatory for fisheries taking part in the In-Transition to MSC (ITM) program:

  • pre-assessment template
  • improvement action plan template
  • benchmarking and tracking tool 
  • progress verification reporting template

Pre-assessment template

An MSC pre-assessment provides an overview on how a fishery performs against the MSC Standard. This allows for gaps in performance to be identified. The process for undertaking an MSC pre-assessment is described in the MSC Fisheries Certification Process. 

MSC Pre-Assessment Reporting Template v3.3
Description: This template details the information required from Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) when creating a pre-assessment report against Fisheries Standard v2.01.
Language: English
Date of issue: 26 October 2022
Date effective: 01 May 2023
Download download file DOCX - 1 MB
MSC Pre-Assessment Reporting Template v4.0
Description: This template details the information required from Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) when creating a pre-assessment report against Fisheries Standard v3.0.
Language: English
Date of issue: 26 October 2022
Date effective: 01 May 2023
Download download file DOCX - 1 MB

Fishery improvement action plan tool

This template and guidance tool are designed to help a fishery develop an improvement action plan to address the gaps in a fishery's environmental performance.

Improvement action plans should be developed following an MSC pre-assessment. They are intended to help fisheries interested in getting MSC certified to identify and implement actions to allow the fishery to meet MSC performance requirements within a specified time frame.

MSC Fishery Improvement Action Plan guidance
Download download file PDF - 2 MB
MSC Fishery Improvement Action Plan Reporting Template v2.2
Download download file DOCX - 1 MB
MSC Fishery Improvement Action Plan Reporting Template v2.2 (Spanish)
Download download file DOCX - 1 MB
MSC Fishery Improvement Action Plan Reporting Template v2.2 (Bahasa Indonesia)
Download download file DOCX - 1 MB

Benchmarking and tracking tool

The benchmarking and tracking tool allows a fishery to benchmark the environmental performance of a Fishery Improvement Project against the MSC Fisheries Standard. Users can track the Fishery Improvement Project's actual and expected progress.

The tool provides a method of consistently reporting information about status of a Fishery Improvement Project and generates a visual summary dashboard of information to help interested parties understand how the fishery is progressing. 
MSC Benchmarking and Tracking Tool guidance document
Download download file PDF - 2 MB
MSC Benchmarking and Tracking tool (BMT) v3.1 (English)
Download download file XLSX - 1 MB
MSC Benchmarking and Tracking Tool (BMT) v3.1 (French)
Download download file XLSX - 1 MB
MSC Benchmarking and Tracking Tool (BMT) v3.1 (Bahasa Indonesia)
Download download file XLSX - 1 MB
MSC Benchmarking and Tracking Tool- Guidance Document (Bahasa Indonesia)
Download download file PDF - 2 MB
MSC Benchmarking and Tracking tool - Excel spreadsheet for Salmon fisheries
Download download file XLSX - 1 MB

Fisheries Management Plan Template and Guidance

This template and guidance tool are designed to support the development of a fishery management plan for pre-certification or pathway fisheries working to meet MSC Fishery Standard requirements. It is based on the MSC Standard (specifically, the Fisheries Certification requirements version 2.1) and is designed to be a user-friendly and easily adaptable.

Stakeholders working with pre-certified fisheries can use it on a voluntary basis to develop management plans, supporting progress towards sustainable management and meeting the MSC requirements.
MSC Pre-Certification Fisheries Management Template and Guidance
Download download file DOCX - 1 MB
MSC Pre-Certification Fisheries Management Template and Guidance (Spanish)
Download download file DOCX - 1 MB

ITM progress verification reporting template

Fisheries in the ITM program must use this template to report on the progress made against the improvement action plan on an annual basis.

Both the ITM Project Manager and Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) should complete the designated sections of the progress verification reporting template.

MSC In-Transition to MSC (ITM) Progress Verification Reporting template
Date effective: 15 December 2020
Download download file DOCX - 1 MB

Risk-Based Framework

Access to data can be a barrier to MSC assessment, this is particularly true for small scale and developing world fisheries. The MSC has a set of precautionary risk-based indicators for the assessment of data-deficient fisheries.

Investing in fishery improvement projects

The MSC certification program supports the identification of sustainable investment opportunities. 

We have developed a guide to support private and public financial institutions that are considering sustainability in their investment decisions in the seafood sector.

For further information, please contact our Fisheries Team

Finance Guidance For Investors
Description: An overview of how the MSC program can support financial institutions considering sustainability when investing in the seafood sector.
Language: English
Date of issue: 15 October 2020
Download download file PDF - 5 MB

Find out more

Fishery Improvement Projects

Fishery Improvement Projects

The MSC recognises the important contribution that Fishery Improvement Projects can make to improving overall fisheries health and in promoting sustainable seafood.

Technical consultants register

Technical consultants register

Our technical consultants register lists experts who can provide services to fisheries as they work towards meeting the MSC Fisheries Standard.

The MSC Fisheries Standard

The MSC Fisheries Standard

The Fisheries Standard measures the sustainability of wild-capture fisheries. The Standard is open to all wild-capture fisheries, including those from the developing world.