Current stage:

Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

Every five years the MSC initiates a Fisheries Standard Review (FSR).  

The FSR is an opportunity to improve the Fisheries Standard by addressing issues raised by stakeholders and by our own monitoring and evaluation processes, and to incorporate widely accepted new science or fisheries management best practice.

Current status

What are we reviewing? 

The FSR is focused in three key work areas: 

Standard efficiency  

Standard effectiveness 

Standard evolution 

Achieving sustainable outcomes by ensuring the bar (the performance level that must be met in order to achieve MSC certification) is set at an appropriate level. Projects in this work area include:

You can explore these topics by following the links above and on the left column of this page.  

Aims of the FSR:

  1. Incorporate improved scientific understanding and fishery management practice into the Fisheries Standard consistent with MSC policy.
  2. Enhance program credibility and legitimacy by addressing emerging issues from implementation of the previous Standard review.
  3. Reduce standard complexity to reduce barriers for new fisheries seeking certification and aid in retention of currently certified fisheries.
  4. Increase standard applicability and accessibility for fisheries in the global south, for high priority large marine ecosystems and for high priority species.
  5. Improve data collection to enable rigorous monitoring and evaluation and improve evidence-based decision-making.

Planned work


The FSR comprises two phases: review and revision. 


The FSR is currently in the review stage. During the review stage, the MSC investigates issues, commissions scientific research and consults with stakeholders and technical experts as well as the MSC Technical Advisory Board and Stakeholder Advisory Council.


In January 2020, once the review is complete, the MSC Board of Trustees will decide whether any part of the Standard needs to be revised. If yes, then we will start the revision phase. 

The revision phase will include targeted and public stakeholder consultation throughout 2020.  

This consultation period will focus on options for revising the Standard, in line with the Board’s decision. This could include options for changes related to individual topics, or for cross-cutting Standard changes.  


The revision phase will also include public consultation on the full, revised Standard in 2021.  

The review and revision process must include all interested parties and balance the diverse needs and views of many different organisations. Impact testing forms an important part of this process.  

The MSC Board of Trustees will make the final decision on any proposed changes to the Standard.  


Opportunities to get involved  

Stakeholder input is an important part of policy development and there will be many opportunities for you to participate in the FSR.  
Sign up to register your interest in the FSR and to be notified of upcoming webinars, workshops and public consultation. 

Raising new issues 

The topics currently prioritised for review as part of the FSR have been carefully considered and reflect the views and concerns of stakeholders that the MSC has heard over the past five years. 

However, it is always possible to raise new issues with the MSC by emailing

These will be considered as part of the MSC's ongoing policy development process and may be addressed as part of this FSR or through another mechanism as appropriate.

Watch a webinar recorded on 26 February 2019, focused on the topics prioritised for review as part of the FSR.