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30 May 2022

The Marine Stewardship Council 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.

The ASC CoC module can be found here, published 30 May 2022 and effective from 30 May 2023. Any audits after 30 May 2023 for Chain of Custody certificate holders with ASC in their scope, will include the requirements in the ASC CoC module, in addition to those in the relevant MSC CoC Standard.

While the current version of the MSC Chain of Custody Standard provides a robust system of assurance for wild capture fisheries, we recognise the ASC's need to respond quickly to changes in aquaculture. We will work closely with the ASC to assess the impact of its policy development, and will consider if we incorporate any of these within the CoC standards and related documents 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. Details of the next Chain of Custody Standard Review are due to be announced by early 2023. We have already identified common priorities with the ASC, including fraud mitigation and digital traceability, but we will also assess other issues, such as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on certificate holders worldwide.

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 more details about the ASC CoC module and how it may apply to you, please visit the ASC website or contact [email protected].