Objections Procedure - overview — Marine Stewardship Council
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Objections Procedure - overview

An assessment to the MSC Fisheries Standard for sustainability is a transparent, third-party process. Assessments are led by independent experts (certification bodies), whose work is further peer-reviewed by other scientists.   

Anyone with an interest in the fishery (a stakeholder) is also invited to take part in the process. If a stakeholder involved in an assessment has reason to query a certification body’s final scores, they may appeal via the objections procedure.   

The objections procedure offers an independent review of the decisions made by the certification body. The process aims to establish if scores awarded to a fishery were reasonable and in accordance with the Fisheries Standard. 

How objections work

After a fishery is assessed, the certification body issues a Final Report and Determination including their recommendation as to whether the fishery should be certified or not.   

If an involved stakeholder believes that the certification body’s scoring is flawed to the extent that the recommendation is incorrect, they may appeal. To do this, they must file a Notice of Objection within 15 working days of the Final Report and determination being published.

Independent adjudicators

The points of disagreement contained in a Notice of Objection are reviewed by an experienced lawyer, known as the Independent Adjudicator.

If an objection notice is accepted, the Independent Adjudicator examines the evidence to determine if the scores in question were "arbitrary or unreasonable".

The process

The Independent Adjudicator will consult with the objector(s) and certification body. In the event that some or all of the issues raised in the objection cannot be resolved through consultations, the process will proceed to adjudication.

Following consultation or hearing, the Independent Adjudicator will issue a written decision either confirming the certification body’s original recommendation or remanding it. If necessary, the certification body will then amend their Final Report and Determination accordingly. 

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More Information

Processes for fisheries assessments may vary due to changes in the Fisheries Certification Requirements made in 2014. Most assessments will be conducted under the new version 2.0, but some may follow version 1.3. 

Download and view the MSC Objections Procedures:

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