Result of consultation (July-August 2012) Accessibility

Start date: 23 October 2012
End date: 25 October 2012


Operating a credible, robust, and effective Chain of Custody (CoC) program is critical for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to achieve its' strategic objectives and to support continued certification of sustainable fisheries.  Over the past several years, the MSC has received increasing feedback from stakeholders suggesting that the current CoC certification requirements (CR) (particularly for group CoC) are overly complex and create significant internal costs, and that requirements do not adequately account for different levels of risk posed by different types of companies.

The CoC accessibility project was initiated in response to these concerns, with the aim of ensuring better retention of existing certificate holders and increasing uptake of the CoC program for new companies, particularly those in the following categories: restaurant chains, contract caterers, fresh fish counters at retailers, traders (only buy and sell seafood) and broadline distributors (i.e. ‘box-in/box-out’ distributors who handle products only in sealed boxes).


The objective of this consultation was to seek stakeholder input on a number of proposed changes to the CoC certification requirements. These changes are intended to reduce complexity and internal costs associated with group CoC certification through an overall simplification and restructuring of the group requirements (currently Annex BC in the CR). These changes also aim to better account for varying risk levels posed by different types of groups, through introducing streamlined certification requirements for ‘reduced risk groups’ (RRGs)  that have very good management systems and a high degree of control over all sites.

Result of consultation

Consultation with public stakeholders was conducted through both rounds of MSC policy consultation. In addition, over 45 stakeholders were consulted between January and July to feed into the risk/ benefit assessment and development and refinement of policy changes. These stakeholders included CABs, current certificate holders, MSC outreach, communications, and logo licensing staff, retailers that hold logo license agreements, and companies that are not currently certified but could be potential certificate holders.

Most feedback was supportive of changes to group requirements that promoted simplicity. Stakeholders also expressed the need to develop clear guidance and training materials to accompany any changes to MSC requirements.

The MSC provides specific responses via email to consultees on comments received.

Next Steps

MSC released the new requirements with the version 1.3 of MSC CR in January 2013, which is available for download here.

For more information on the changes agreed in TAB 21 visit Recent Policy Changes.

The amendments listed under accessibility will apply to:

  • New applicants from 10/03/2013
  • Existing applicants and certificate holders upon reassessment

Further information

Please direct any enquiries to:
Chelsea Reinhardt