The MSC and its response to the coronavirus pandemic

As businesses and communities worldwide are adapting to travel bans, school closures and social distancing as a result of the global covid-19 pandemic, our team at the Marine Stewardship Council has changed the way it is working, so that we can support our valued partners at this exceptionally challenging time. Some of the changes we’ve put in place since the virus outbreak include:

20 March 2020 (updated 30 March 2020)

 

MSC Offices

We have temporarily closed most of our offices around the world, including our London headquarters, in response to government guidance and for the safety of our staff and stakeholders.

However, our colleagues globally are available during their usual office hours on email, by telephone and video conference. If you do not have a regular MSC contact person, the email and telephone contact details for our regional offices are available here.

Some of our offices in Asia-Pacific remain open or have re-opened. However, as the situation is changing quickly we would ask that you confirm in advance if you have an in-person meeting scheduled.

 

Audits and assessments

Fisheries are being offered a six-month extension on the usual timelines for MSC assessments and certifications. However, fishery partners who wish to go ahead with remote audits and existing timelines, can do so if this is feasible and agreed with Conformity Assessment Bodies.

For supply chain businesses with an MSC Chain of Custody certificate, audits can still be conducted remotely, as previously announced. But if this is not possible due to the impacts of Covid-19, then a six-month extension can be requested.

The measures are effective immediately and will remain in place until 27 September 2020. We expect normal auditing processes will return after then, but we’ll continue to evaluate the situation.

Further details of the temporary changes to assessment and certification processes are on our website.

 

Governance

The MSC’s Stakeholder Advisory Council and Technical Advisory Board will meet as scheduled in late May 2020, albeit virtually rather than in person. They will continue their work, advising the MSC Board of Trustees on key policy issues.

 

Seafood Futures Forum

After much consideration, the MSC has taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Seafood Futures Forum. The flagship event was planned for 22 April 2020 during Seafood Expo Global in Brussels. After the Seafood Expo was postponed, we’d subsequently hoped to run the forum as a digital conference but given the rapidly evolving situation, we do not believe the timing is appropriate for the event.

During the coming days and weeks we’ll be looking at other ways in which we can further adapt our program to minimise risks and support our partners as they grapple with the immediate challenges faced by the industry. 

 

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