Handling under-assessment product (previously UMAF) — Marine Stewardship Council
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Handling under-assessment product (previously UMAF)

From 1 September 2015, all changes related to under-assessment product will become effective. All chain of custody certificate holders must conform to the requirements even if their next audit occurs later. 

The MSC has made important changes to requirements for under-assessment product (previously known as 'Under-MSC-Assessment Fish', or UMAF) to reduce the complexity of the requirements and minimise product integrity risks.

For detailed guidance on the new requirements, refer to the transitional support for MSC under-assessment product (PDF 269 KB) > 

More about the completed Chain of Custody Program Review >

What is MSC under-assessment product?

Under-assessment product relates to fish that is harvested while a fishery is undergoing assessment (after a designated ‘Eligibility Date’, but before the fishery is certified).

What has changed?

1. Eligibility: Companies can only buy and store under-assessment product if:

  • They are part of a fishery undergoing assessment, or
  • They are part of a farm undergoing ASC assessment, or
  • They are a named member of the client group for a fishery / farm. 

Note: Eligible companies must retain ownership of the product until the fishery /  farm is certified, but they are able to use third party storage or subcontractors to handle the product where needed.

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, from 1 September 2015 you can no longer sell any product as 'under-assessment' (UMAF). However if you already have under-assessment product in storage as of 1 September, you are permitted to store this product until the source fishery / farm is certified. At that point you can sell eligible product (i.e. caught after the designated Eligibility Date) as 'certified'.

2. Handling of under-assessment product: Companies eligible under point 1 must ensure that any under-assessment product:

  • Is clearly identified and segregated.
  • Is fully traceable back to the unit of certification.
  • Is not sold or labelled as 'certified' or with the ecolabel until the source fishery or farm has been certified.

3. Scope extensions: Companies that meet the eligibility criteria no longer need to notify their certifier or receive a 'scope extension' before they can purchase under-assessment product.

Contact us

Contact your local MSC office for more information about MSC Chain of Custody certification.

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