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

How has our Standard changed?

The new version of our Standard contains clarified requirements and guidance to ensure that impacts on ecosystems are assessed more consistently. This will also provide greater transparency in assessment reports, making it easier for stakeholders to understand and contribute to the assessment process.

Clarifying language and definitions

We have added two new clauses to the Ecosystem component under Principle 2 to clarify and define how ecosystems and key ecosystem elements are identified during an assessment.

Assessors will now be required to explicitly identify and describe the assessed ecosystem. They must also identify and assess all key ecosystem elements which are impacted by the fishery. This will lead to a more targeted approach to evaluating a fishery’s impact and will ensure the assessor is only scoring a fishery on ecosystem elements that are likely to be affected.

We have updated our guidance to clarify which ecosystem elements should be considered in an assessment. This will ensure that aspects such as key prey, predators and competitors are clearly identified. 

We have also clarified the language used in ecosystem performance indicators and removed duplication in the way fisheries are scored across Principle 2.

Updates to our Risk-Based Framework

We have updated the requirements and guidance of our Risk-Based Framework to ensure it continues to delivery precautionary and consistent assessments for data-limited fisheries. The Risk-Based Framework can be used by fisheries who lack comprehensive scientific data to assess their impacts on aspects such as stock populations, habitats and ecosystems.

New Evidence Requirements Framework

We have also developed the new Evidence Requirements Framework, a tool that will enable assessors to better evaluate the quality of information being used to certify a fishery.  This includes evidence to demonstrate the impact of a fishery on an ecosystem. 

Fisheries Standard 3.0 implementation

Fisheries Standard 3.0 implementation

Timelines have been extended for the implementation of MSC Fisheries Standard Version 3.

Developing our Standard

In 2022, we published Version 3.0 of the MSC Fisheries Standard following the most comprehensive review to date

The development of the Standard follows public consultation on key aspects of the review, including a 60-day public review of the draft Standard and all associated documents. 

We also commissioned independent research and carried out data analysis and impact assessments to determine whether proposals are feasible and deliver our stated intentions. We also sought advice and input from our governance bodies throughout the process. Find out more about how we develop our standards.

Follow the links below to find out more about the different inputs which contributed to the development of our requirements and guidance for the assessment of ecosystems:

Find out more about how we develop our standards.

MSC Fisheries Standard version 3.0

MSC Fisheries Standard version 3.0

An overview of the changes made to our Standard.

Fisheries Program Documents

Fisheries Program Documents

The MSC Fisheries Standard and General Certification Requirements.