Current stage:

Selection
Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

The MSC is releasing an updated version of the Fisheries Certification Process (FCP) in March 2020. We are committed to make improvements to ensure fishery assessments are robust and efficient.

Current status

Opportunity to review the final changes to the Fisheries Certification Process and accompanying documents has now closed >

Ahead of the March 2020 release, the MSC is seeking feedback on the clarity, auditability and applicability of the draft requirements and accompanying documents.

The release will incorporate improvements related to the following projects:

Persistent disagreement with expert judgement used in fishery assessments

We are improving the way stakeholders’ comments on a fishery assessment are recorded and addressed.

These improvements will help stakeholders easily identify and understand how a Conformity Assessment Body (an independent organisation that determines whether a fishery complies with the MSC Fisheries Standard, also known as CABs) has responded to their comments. 

These reporting changes will help stakeholders, CABs and the MSC identify and understand where there is ongoing disagreement between stakeholders and CABs, and the nature of that disagreement.

Better reporting/recording of disagreements will help the MSC monitor and evaluate these disagreements so that further improvements can be made to the way stakeholders participate and engage in fishery assessments.

We are adding guidance for CABs to follow the precautionary approach when assessing fisheries. This further clarifies that CABs need to be cautious in their scoring when there is limited information.

You can read more information about this project on the project page >

Shark finning scope criteria

We are adding a requirement to ensure entities that have been successfully prosecuted for shark finning offences are not certified. 

The inclusion of further shark finning requirements within the MSC Fisheries Standard is being considered as part of the ongoing Fisheries Standard Review.

You can read more information about this project on the project page >

Conditions

The MSC has reviewed and revised the requirements that CABs must follow when setting conditions, evaluating progress against conditions and closing conditions. 

The MSC commissioned two independent reviews into conditions. A key finding from the review was that unclear requirements are a root cause of inconsistent and, in some cases, incorrect application of the requirements. The revision of the Fisheries Certification Process has focused on clarifying unclear requirements and ensuring transparency.

You can read more information about this project on the project page >

Unit of Assessment (UoA)

Following three rounds of consultation, the MSC is changing the definition of the Unit of Assessment that defines the fishing activities assessed, and potentially certified, to the MSC Fisheries Standard.

The amended definition will mean that all individual fishing practices using the same gear type (e.g. purse seine fishing on free schools and fish aggregating devices) will need to be assessed as part of the Unit of Assessment.

You can read more information about this project on the project page >

Expedited audits

The revised Fisheries Certification Process will clarify requirements to ensure their consistent interpretation and application for expedited audits.  

It is the MSC intent that new information about a fishery (that could be material) should trigger an expedited audit, even during the assessment process. We have:

    • Added requirements to facilitate score changes into the next report.
    • Allowed an additional 90 days in an assessment timeline for an expedited audit to be completed. 

You can read more information about this project on the project page >

General changes

We are removing the Objection Procedure from the Fisheries Certification Process so it becomes a stand-alone document.

Planned work

We are looking for feedback on the clarity of the changed requirements, applicability in practice, auditability and if our proposed changes will deliver our intended outcomes. We are not looking for feedback on policy direction.

Opportunity to review the final changes to the Fisheries Certification Process and accompanying documents has now closed >

Available documents

No documents are currently available.