How the MSC Fisheries Standard Works

When a fishery is successfully certified to the Fisheries Standard, its certified catch can be sold with the blue MSC label.

Certification to the MSC Fisheries Standard is voluntary. It’s open to all fisheries who catch marine or freshwater organisms in the wild. This includes most types of fish and shellfish.

Fisheries are assessed by accredited independent certifiers (called Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) – also called certification bodies), not the MSC.

What is assessed?

The MSC Fisheries Standard has three core principles that every fishery must meet:
  1. Sustainable fish stocks

    Are enough fish left in the ocean? Fishing must be at a level that ensures it can continue indefinitely and the fish population can remain productive and healthy.

  2. Minimising environmental impact

    What are the impacts? Fishing activity must be managed carefully so that other species and habitats within the ecosystem remain healthy.

  3. Effective fisheries management

    Are operations well managed? MSC certified fisheries must comply with relevant laws and be able to adapt to changing environmental circumstances.

Graphic showing 3 principles of the MSC Fisheries Standard

More for fisheries

Why get your fishery MSC certified?

Why get your fishery MSC certified?

MSC certification confirms your fishery is well-managed and is sustaining resources and livelihoods for future generations. Learn about the benefits.

Find out more
Fishery certification guide

Fishery certification guide

What you need to know to get certified. We are here to help you before, during, and after the process.

Get started

More for certifiers

Certification bodies

Certification bodies

Information for and about Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) accredited to carry out assessments to the MSC Standards.

Find out more
Fisheries program documents

Fisheries program documents

The MSC Fisheries Standard and General Certification Requirements. For certifiers and clients.

Find documents
  • '{{item.Image.Title}}', {{item.Image.Artist}}, {{item.Image.Description}}