News and opinion

Board decision on Standards Review

February 7, 2020

Board of Trustees statement

MSC Board confirms topics for further consultation in Fisheries Standard Review and approves Fisheries Certification Process


After a positive and constructive discussion, the MSC Board of Trustees agreed to move forward to the next phase of the MSC’s Fisheries Standard Review – a review that is undertaken every five years in line with The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s guidelines and best practice in standard-setting. 
 
The areas being taken forward for consultation in the Fishery Standard Review, include topics such as safeguarding endangered, threatened and protected species, best practice regulations and management systems to stop shark finning, and supporting the avoidance of gear loss and preventing ghost fishing
 
The current Fisheries Standard Review started in 2018 and will run until 2022, ensuring time for stakeholder consultation and impact testing of proposed revisions to the Standard.  
 
The Board also approved a new version of the Fisheries Certification Process – the assessment process by which fisheries are deemed to meet the MSC Standard.   
 
Among the changes in the updated Fisheries Certification Process are: stringent requirements to eliminate sharkfinning in MSC certified fisheries; removing the possibility for a vessel to catch both certified and non-certified catch using different practices, (known as compartmentalisation) and improving the transparency of assessment procedures.  
 
The updated Fisheries Certification Process will be rolled out in March. The Fisheries Certification Process has been informed by considerable input from stakeholders including NGOs, the fishing industry and technical experts.  
 
In addition, the MSC Board of Trustees confirmed that there will continue to be work in key areas of MSC’s assurance system. These include dispute resolution – when stakeholders do not agree on the evidence basis of a certification – and improvement in the process relating to conditions that fisheries are required to address to maintain their certification.  
 
The Board of Trustees reaffirmed MSC’s commitment to delivering improvements to its certification programme and maintaining the practical ability to deliver outcomes on the water. 
 
 

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Find out more about the MSC Fishery Standard


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