Ensuring ecosystem performance indicators are clear

Principle 2 of the MSC Fisheries Standard covers the effect a fishery has on the environment.

A key part of this is ensuring MSC certified fisheries do not cause irreversible harm to the structure and function of an ecosystem. This can, for example, mean making sure important species that act as food for the whole ecosystem are not removed. It also means not affecting the overall biodiversity, health and resilience of an ecosystem to be able to adapt to environmental changes. 


Improving our standard

Our Performance Indicators related to Ecosystem requirements have not been updated since 2011. We want to review whether they still reflect global best practice and are driving the changes we want to see. If requirements are unclear, difficult to apply or left open to interpretation, then they will not be applied consistently in fishery assessments. 

To ensure our ecosystem requirements are up to date we want to clarify several areas. These include the definitions of key ecosystem elements and the refining of evidence currently needed to meet our requirements. Expert stakeholder input will be used to design the revisions to improve assessment outcomes. 


Progress so far

We have conducted a review of the reports from Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) that consider fisheries performance against the Ecosystem requirements. We have considered current scoring methods, how conditions are set and the databases providing technical oversight to assessors. CABs have also provided feedback on this topic in a workshop in 2019. 

As part of our current Fisheries Standard Review, we are also considering ecosystem assessments as part of Ensuring the Risk-Based Framework continues to deliver consistent assessments for data-limited fisheries. 


How could the standard change?

This review could change the requirements and guidance of the MSC Fisheries Standard on ecosystem assessments. 


Get involved

Stakeholders are at the heart of our Fisheries Standard Review, helping identify issues, develop solutions and test the possible impacts of any proposed changes. We are holding a series of stakeholder consultation events in 2020 and 2021 including virtual workshops and online surveys. 

Currently there are no open activities related to this project. To be notified when events are announced please sign up for our Fisheries Standard Review update

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