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Current stage:

Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

MSC has committed to undertake a review of the Fisheries Standard (FSR) in 2013 - 2014. The review ensures the MSC program remains fit for purpose as the world's leading certification program.

The review is now in its final stages and the MSC aims to release the new Fisheries Standard in October 2014.

In the past months, the MSC has completed a series of online and in-person public consultation. The topics that were available for consultation are shown in the table below:

TopicProgram improvements description
Principle 1:
fish stock

To provide clarifications and guidance when assessing the sustainability of fish stock. Two sub-projects are included:

  • Principle 1 clarifications
  • Metapopulations
Principle 2:
Minimising environmental impact

To ensure consistency and to reflect best practice throughout Principle 2, including:

  • Species outcome Performance Indicators (PIs) and the species component restructure
  • Species management and information PIs
  • Habitat
Principle 3:
Effective managemen

To consider changes to the performance indicators used to assess fisheries management systems.

Risk Based Framework

To improve on the three aspects of the risk based framework (RBF):

  • Species Performance Indicators (PIs)
  • RBF developments
Fishery Process Issues

To provide additional guidance and clarity to three sections:

  • Definition of unit of certification (UoC)
  • Fishery traceability
  • Harmonisation of conditions timelines

The FSR will consolidate the MSC’s existing policy development process on issues pertaining to the Default Assessment Tree and other fishery client ‘performance’ requirements.

If you would like more information about the FSR,  please contact Dan Hoggarth (Fisheries Oversight Director) at

In addition, the MSC will undertake a Speed and Cost Review (SCR) in parallel to the FSR, to review and reform the assessment process. The aim is to reduce the time, cost and complexity of certification.

Current status

A full draft of the new MSC Fisheries Certification Requirements version 2.0 (FCR v2.0), incorporating outcomes from the review is near completion.

The launch was rescheduled from August to October during the Board of Trustees meeting (24 June), where it was decided that some final work was required to ensure that the standard and requirements were clear.

MSC would like to thank everyone for their contribution and continued involvement with the policy development process. A summary of the comments received from late stage public consultation and how they have been addressed can be found here.

Planned work

See upcoming planned activities for the Fisheries Standard Review below:

28 May
Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) webinar
To register, please send email to
26 June Board sign off on CR version 2.0 London, UK
4 - 5 September CABs training event London, UK
Release of FCR version 2.0 (Parts A and C)
Public, available online
1 October CR version 2.0 (Parts A and C) becomes effective Public