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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. The review ensures the MSC program remains fit for purpose as the world's leading certification program.

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

The MSC Fisheries Standard Review went into a late stage public consultation from September to October 2013. The feedback gathered from both early and late stage consultations, outcomes from the stakeholder workshops and results from impact assessment work were discussed at the Stakeholder Council (StC) and Technical Advisory Board (TAB) in December 2013, and presented to the Board for final sign off in January 2014.

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

Planned work

See upcoming planned activities for the Fisheries Standard Review below:

22 - 23 January MSC Board sign off Certification Requirements revision (CR version 1.4)
31 January Release MSC CR version 1.4 (Parts A and B) Public
5 February Public webinar on CR version 1.4 Remotely
To register, please send email to
31 March CR version 1.4 (Parts A and B) becomes effective Public
26 June Board sign off on CR version 2.0 TBC
1 August Release MSC CR version 2.0 (Parts A and C) Public
1 October CR version 2.0 (Parts A and C) becomes effective Public