2013 policy cycle changes

Below is a list of recent policy changes approved by the TAB and Board in 2012 and their subsequent implemented.

The MSC CR version 1.3 was issued on 14 January 2013 to reflect the changes. New requirements will become effective on 14 March 2013.

For more information about any of the work described below check the improvement database, or contact standards@msc.org.

2013 fisheries policy developments

  1. Low trophic level fisheries
  2. Shark finning
  3. Expedited principle 1 assessment
  4. Benthic impacts
  5. Highly migratory /  straddling stocks
  6. Transparency and integrity in fisheries management
  7. Risk-based framework

2013 chain of custody (CoC) policy developments

  1. CoC accessibility
  2. Scope of certification
  3. Traceability and assurance in the supply chain (TASC)
  4. CoC checklist

2013 overarching policy developments

  1. Auditor competencies
  2. Publication of witness audit
  3. Stakeholder information sharing

2013 fisheries policy developments

Low trophic level fisheries

Sections amended

Performance indicator (PI) 1.1.2 (reference points) and respective guidance

Summary

The Technical Advisory Board (TAB) has approved revisions to the MSC Certification Requirements (CR) to allow the use of the Risk-based Framework (RBF) for those key low trophic level (LTL) fisheries that are data-deficient in relation to stock status and/or reference points. The criteria for identifying key LTL stocks have been simplified and improved, additional guidance has been developed to assist Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) in generating plausible arguments on the status of fisheries and to clarify how the spatial scale of ecosystems should be considered in the assessments. The core purpose behind the changes is to increase accessibility of the MSC to fisheries targeting LTL stocks, without compromising the ecological stability of marine ecosystems.

Shark Finning

Sections amended

Performance indicator (PI) 1.2.1 (harvest strategy) & PI 2.1.2 (retained management strategy) and addition of associated clauses; and respective guidance

Summary

The Technical Advisory Board (TAB) has approved amendments to the MSC Certification Requirements (CR) and Guidance ensuring that fisheries undertaking shark finning practices will not qualify for MSC certification and thus fail the assessment. MSC uses the following definition of shark finning “The practice of removing any of the fins of a shark (including the tail) while at sea and discarding the remainder of the shark at sea”.

The Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) will need to determine the level of assurance that shark finning is not taking place by considering whether fins are landed separately from the body, the level of monitoring in place, and if there are regulations in place governing the management of sharks, including but not limited to the prohibition of shark finning

A new scoring issue (SI) has been added to PIs 1.2.1 and 2.1.2, so that if sharks are either retained or targeted the CABs need to score this SI and assess whether shark finning practices are taking place. Accompanying text explicitly indicating what ‘likely’ ‘highly likely’ and ‘high degree of certainty’ mean has also been added, with accompanying guidance in the Guidance to the CR.

The new SI is as follows:

SG 60: It is likely that shark finning is not taking place.

SG 80: It is highly likely that shark finning is not taking place.

SG 100: There is a high degree of certainty that shark finning is not taking place.

Expedited P1 assessment

Sections amended

Section 27.4 Confirmation of scope & new annex CL; and respective guidance

Summary

A mechanism to enable expedited Principle 1 (P1) assessments of main retained species (assessed in P2) within existing certified fisheries has been introduced. The expedited assessment is an assessment of the main retained species against P1 only, to take place during a surveillance audit or expedited audit for the certified fishery, and involves a smaller number of steps than a regular full assessment.

Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) need to request a specific variation from the MSC to make use of the expedited assessment mechanism to ensure they have taken account of any re-evaluation of the fishery that may be necessary in addition to the P1 assessment of the main retained species, as a result of moving additional species into P1. This approach is expected to be beneficial to multispecies fisheries or countries / management units seeking to eventually certify all of their commercial catches.

Benthic Impacts

Sections amended

Performance Indicator (PI) 2.4.1 (habitat outcome): clauses CB3.14.1, CB3.14.2.1 Glossary

Summary

There have been minor amendments made to the wording of the habitat performance indicators. Habitat “role” was replaced with habitat “function,” which refers to the range of services provided to an organism, including, but not limited to, mediating trophic interactions, reproduction, shelter, and feeding, and influencing the behaviour of organisms. In addition new definition for habitat, habitat structure and habitat function were added to the glossary

Highly Migratory/Straddling Stocks

Sections amended

Performance Indicator (PI) 3.1.1 (legal and / or customary framework) and guidance to Principle 3 PIs

Summary

The amendments will require Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) to determine which biological and / or jurisdictional levels apply to the management system of a fishery, in order to effectively assess the management system. The determined level of management should then be considered when scoring all PIs within the relevant P3 component. The intent of this is to limit the extent of responsibility of the fishery within the Unit of Certification (UoC) for the actions of non-UoC management bodies, unless they impact directly on the delivery of P1 and P2 outcomes.

Transparency and Integrity in Fisheries Management

Sections amended

Performance Indicator (PI) 3.2.2 (decision-making processes) and guidance to Principle 3 PIs

Summary

The amendments will ensure that Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) consider the extent to which transparency and accountability is embedded within the management system including public access to information on fisheries performance and fisheries data and information on actions taken by management that have implications for sustainable use of fisheries resource. The CAB should consider the transparency of the decision making process, so that it is clear to all stakeholders that decisions were arrived at based on available evidence and due process.

Risk Based Framework developments

Sections amended

Sections 27.8, 27.14, CB3.7.2, CB3.14.2, CB3.13.2, Annex CC

Summary

Amendments were introduced to address situations where the Risk-based Framework (RBF) is used for certain scoring elements and not for others within one Performance Indicator (PI).

 

2013 chain of custody (CoC) policy developments

CoC Accessibility

Sections amended

Section 17.3 Audit planning, Annex BB –Group CoC requirements, Annex BC Checklist for Group requirements

Summary

The Technical Advisory Board (TAB) has approved changes to the MSC Certification Requirements (CR) that reduce complexity and internal costs for group CoC operators and address existing barriers to certification, while maintaining the integrity of the CoC program. These changes are focused on the food service sector and include the introduction of a new set of eligibility criteria for ‘reduced risk groups’, an overall simplification and restructuring of the Group CoC certification requirements and revision of the process for addressing critical non-conformities found at Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) site audits.

Scope of Certification

Sections amended

Section 17.2 –Scope of Certification, Annex BD

Summary

The Technical Advisory Board (TAB) has approved changes to the MSC Certification Requirements (CR) that will eliminate the need for Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) to approve every new MSC-certified product or species, and will give companies the flexibility to source more MSC-certified products without  the time and cost of scope extensions. New activities will still require CAB approval, and CABs will need to be notified retroactively of any new species added. Under this change, product-level data for scope will be checked and updated by CABs at a minimum during audits.

Traceability and Assurance in the Supply Chain (TASC)

Sections amended

Part A 4.8  Annex AA, Part B 17.4, 17.5 & 17.8, Annex BD

Summary

The changes introduced to the Certification Requirements (CR) relate to the following:

  1. Forensic testing of MSC certified seafood in the supply chain on a sample basis
  2. Contractual arrangements to allow Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) to carry out unannounced audits, or MSC commissioned audits
  3. CABs to inform MSC in cases of risks of mis-identification of product sold as MSC certified
  4. An extension of the traceback requirements so that CoC certificate holders provide purchase / sales information, on MSC products, to MSC on request (supply chain reconciliation)
  5. The ability for MSC to request that traceback and supply chain reconciliation information, provided by CoC certificate holders to MSC are verified on-site by the CAB
  6. Requirements to strengthen the position of CABs during an audit including, specifying time limits for receiving information and requiring the CoC certificate holder/ applicant to sign off specific sections of the audit report.

Requirements also specify that certificate holders shall supply information when the MSC, CAB, or ASI request information to verify conformity with the CoC Standard.

CoC Checklist

Sections amended

Annex BA

Summary

These amendments introduce an option for Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) to use the Chain of Custody checklist (single site or group audits) developed by MSC. The use of the MSC Chain of Custody checklist is not mandatory. Where the MSC template is used this can be uploaded on the MSC database in replacement of the report template requested by Annex BA.

 

2013 overarching policy developments

Auditor competencies

Sections amended

6.1, 16.1, BB5.1, 27.5, 27.14 and new Annexes introduced with Auditor Qualifications And Competencies for CoC auditors, group CoC auditors, fishery team leaders/ members and peer reviewers

Summary

The new amendments will introduce a single set of competency criteria with which all audit personnel have to comply. In order to comply with part of these requirements, the MSC has developed online training modules which include assessments to audit personnel competency. In addition the following amendments were introduced:

Audit personnel needs to sign the MSC’s Code of Conduct (available on the MSC website) confirming that they will comply with the Code.

CoC auditors should not audit an individual client for a maximum of six consecutive years.

Publication of witness audit

Sections amended

4.1 Requirements for accreditation, 4.8 Contract

Summary

The amendments will allow ASI to publish fishery witness audits, they have agreed with Conformity Assessment Bodies and respecting client confidentiality.  Publication of CoC witness audits by ASI will begin in 2014.

Stakeholder information sharing

Sections amended

Section A4.7.2 Communication with the MSC and GC 4.7.2

Summary

The amendments introduce requirements for Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) to submit to the MSC a copy of the contact details for all participating clients and stakeholders within ten days from the date the certificate is issued, in order for MSC to distribute the client/stakeholder experience survey.