Have your say - fisheries assessments — Marine Stewardship Council
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Have your say - fisheries assessments

  • Are you affected, or will you be affected by, a certification decision on a particular fishery?
  • Do you have an interest in the fishery being considered for certification and/or in other resources potentially affected by the fishery being considered for certification?
  • Do you have information relevant to the assessment of the fishery for MSC certification?
  • Do you want to comment on the performance of the certifier?

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you should consider yourself a stakeholder in that fishery. You should have your say and get involved in the MSC assessment process.

Remember that the MSC is available to help guide you through the process. If you need further information about any of the assessment steps, please contact the MSC.

When and how you can comment on a fishery's assessment >

Why should I get involved?

As a stakeholder, you are an essential source of information that will be needed to conduct a meaningful assessment. Whether you are a scientist, a fishery manager, a seafood processor, a government representative, a community member, a conservationist or other stakeholder with an interest in an assessment outcome, your information contributes to a thorough assessment.

Your input helps to ensure that:

  • the issues important to you or your organization are taken into consideration in the assessment;
  • the assessment of the fishery is well-informed and comprehensive;
  • the outcome of the assessment is consistent with the rigorous MSC Fisheries Standard.
  • stakeholder support is strengthened for both the result obtained in this fishery and for the overall MSC certification program.

Stakeholder comment makes a difference

Between 2012 and 2015, stakeholders commented on 36% of fishery assessments with a total of 723 comments received in total. 

Illustration showing percentages of stakeholder comments in MSC fishery assessments

In total, 12.5% of comments contributed to a change in score, with 5% prompting a condition to be raised in the final certification report. Conditions are generated when an assessor deems that there is scope for a fishery to collect further information, or improve its operations to meet best practice. In total, 17 fisheries were asked to make one or more improvements as a result of stakeholder comments.

Certification bodies are required to consider stakeholder input

The input that stakeholders provide during assessments is crucial to ensuring a credible and robust certification outcome. The independent certification bodies who conduct assessments are required to carefully consider all comments received. If they choose not to take comments on board, they must document their rationale. This ensures that your input is transparently and thoroughly considered by the assessment team.

When and how you can comment on a fishery's assessment >

Certification bodies performance

All third party accredited certification bodies are required to have their own complaints procedure. You should be able to find this on their website. If you need to raise a complaint against any certification bodies or auditors, please use their own complaints procedure as a first step.

If you are not satisfied with a certification body's response, it is possible to raise a complaint with MSC’s independent accreditation body – Accreditation Services International (ASI).

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