Reviewing the Risk Based Framework

We want to make sure that all fisheries that are well-managed and sustainable can become certified, even if they do not have all the data usually used in assessments.

We want to provide data-limited fisheries with the tools they need to assess the impact of their activities on habitats and ecosystems.

Our Risk-Based Framework (RBF) can be used for different performance indicators across the Fisheries Standard. This includes a precautionary approach to estimating stock status for fisheries that do not have data to assess the impact of a fishery on target species and on factors such as bycatch and habitats. The RBF can be used in fisheries that do not have conventional data, including reference points, derived from models such as analytical stock assessments.


Improving our standard

We are currently reviewing how the Risk Based Framework (RBF) helps data-limited fisheries enter the program and whether this is the most effective approach.

Risk-based approaches are key in the assessment of out-of-scope species (those that cannot be targeted under Principle 1, such as birds and mammals) as there is often less data available to determine the impact that fishing has on them.

Our intent is to deliver robust, precautionary and consistent outcomes in RBF assessments. While this intent is not changing, we have identified areas where the RBF may need improvements in order to better deliver it, as in the case of out-of-scope species. We have also identified areas where the RBF requirements could be made clearer and more streamlined in order to deliver more consistent outcomes.

We are also continuing our work to increase accessibility of the Fisheries Standard through the potential inclusion of further risk-based approaches and assessment tools to facilitate data-limited assessments in the future.


Progress so far

We are developing a new Fisheries Standard Toolbox. this will contain requirements and guidance for tools that can aid the assessment of data-limited fisheries. In addition to new tools that are currently in development, the toolbox will house the Risk-Based Framework, which we intend to fully separate from the Standard and Process documents.

We investigated if the Risk-Based Framework is fit for purpose and consistent in its delivery. This focused on the outcomes delivered when assessing impact on out-of-scope species and dynamic stocks (such as low trophic level species). Results suggest that changes to our requirements and guidance are needed to deliver more robust outcomes.


How could the standard change

This review could lead to a change in requirements and guidance of the MSC Fisheries Standard, as we have identified areas where the Standard could be made clearer. This includes removing redundant requirements around the Risk-Based Framework.

This may include changes to attributes being evaluated and risk thresholds applied for assessing out-of-scope species such as seabirds and marine mammals within Principle 2.

Our intentions in the Standard to deliver robust, precautionary and consistent outcomes in assessments will not change.

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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