Making the MSC Fisheries Standard more efficient

The MSC Fisheries Standard is used to assess if a fishery is well-managed and sustainable.

Improving our standard

The MSC Fisheries Standard has a complex structure and scoring system. Applying it consistently in assessments can be long and costly. 

We want to simplify the Standard so it can be applied more efficiently. This will help to reduce the barriers for new fisheries seeking certification and help certified fisheries stay in the program more easily.

We also want to improve the collection of data, to ensure rigorous monitoring of fisheries is taking place and improve evidence-based decision making.


Progress to date

We have carried out qualitative and quantitative analysis to identify the structural components of the Standard – such as performance and scoring indicators – that may not affect the outcome of assessments.

We have also held workshops with Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs), assessors and independent experts to identify areas of the Standard that could be simplified without changing the intent.

We have now commissioned independent research to investigate alternative structures and scoring approaches that would enable us to maintain the same level of sustainability performance with a simplified structure.


How could the standard change?

The changes proposed could lead to a change in requirements and guidance of the MSC Fisheries Standard. They will not impact the intent, rigour or thresholds of the Standard.

We aim to clarify language and definitions, reduce the number of components in the Standard and potentially simplify how fisheries are scored. We also aim to reduce redundancy in performance indicators for outcome, management and information for Principle 2.


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.

In June and July 2020, stakeholders were invited to contribute to a survey focusing on 'Restructuring the MSC Standard'.

To be notified of future activities please sign up for our Fisheries Standard Review update

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