ASC consultation on supplementary Chain of Custody requirements

8 March 2021

The MSC Chain of Custody Standard is the leading international standard used by both the MSC and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). It provides assurance to consumers and other stakeholders that the MSC and ASC ecolabels only appear on seafood sourced from sustainable fisheries and responsible farms, respectively.  

In response to emerging issues, the ASC has decided to develop additional Chain of Custody requirements for ASC certified businesses. This reflects inherent differences between farmed and wild seafood, such as the need for responsible use of antibiotics in aquaculture. There will be no change to the Chain of Custody requirements for MSC certificate holders. 

ASC is holding a 60-day public consultation on its proposed Chain of Custody Module, against which ASC-certified business will be assessed. This is in addition to the MSC Chain of Custody Standard, which remains the chosen standard by ASC for its certified supply chains. We encourage all certificate holders, assessment bodies, and stakeholders who could be affected by the changes to participate in the consultation. 

While the current version of the MSC Chain of Custody Standard provides a robust system of assurance for wild capture fisheries, we recognize ASC's need to respond quickly to changes in aquaculture.  We will work closely with ASC to assess the impact of its policy development, and consider these at the next Chain of Custody Standard Review.  

We continuously monitor implementation of the MSC Chain of Custody Standard, the latest revision of which became effective in September 2019. This includes assessing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on certificate holders worldwide. Details of the next Chain of Custody Standard Review are due to be announced by early 2022, but we have already identified common priorities with ASC, including fraud mitigation and digital traceability.  

The MSC and ASC will continue to work closely together on other areas of common interest, including the successful development and implementation of a joint standard for seaweed.  

For details of the consultation and questions on ASC certification, please visit the ASC website.

For queries relating to MSC Chain of Custody Certificates, please contact

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