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Home Program improvements database Modifications to the Default Tree for Salmon Fisheries Consultations Late-stage public consultation: Default assessment tree for enhanced salmon fisheries (July-Oct, 2012)

Modifications to the Default Tree for Salmon Fisheries

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Late-stage public consultation: Default assessment tree for enhanced salmon fisheries (July-Oct, 2012)

Start date: 20 July 2012
End date: 02 October 2012


When the default Fisheries Assessment Methodology (FAM) was introduced in 2008, it was acknowledged that in order to assess salmon fisheries appropriately some additional Performance Indicators (PIs) would need to be added to the default tree.  Scope and criteria implemented in the same year for enhanced fishery assessments identify what fisheries may be considered as within the scope of the MSC program. For some types of enhanced fisheries specific and additional guidance is required to enable the proper assessment of their particular characteristics against the MSC standard.

For Salmon, the special characteristics needing particular consideration are multi-stock structure, and effects of stocking of hatchery-reared fish and other enhancement activities on the wild salmon populations and their wider environment.

MSC has in the past allowed fisheries to make controlled modifications to the default assessment tree for enhanced salmon fisheries, but has also been working for some time on the development of a single special assessment tree for salmon.  The use of such a standard assessment tree will ensure that the unique impacts of these fisheries are assessed consistently by certifiers in all MSC salmon fisheries.

The purpose of this policy item is to standardise Certification Requirements for all salmon fisheries, consistent with international best practice, in order to contribute to achieving consistent, credible, and robust assessments of these fisheries against the MSC standard.  The MSC is proposing a default assessment tree (Annex CM) and associated guidance (Annex GCM) for this purpose.


The objective of this consultation is to seek stakeholder input on the modified requirements and associated guidance specific to salmon fisheries.

Who can comment?

This consultation is open to any interested stakeholders.

Documents out for consultation

  1. Consultation document
  2. Annex CM: Modifications to the Default Assessment Tree for Salmon Fisheries
  3. Annex GCM:  Guidance to the Modifications to the Default Assessment Tree for Salmon Fisheries.

Proposed changes

The default assessment tree has been modified to directly assess the unique characteristics of salmon including the multi-stock structure and enhancement activities.  The modifications fall under two main categories:

  1. To ensure that Stock Management Units (SMUs) retain productivity across their constituent populations, the default tree has been modified to assess salmon fisheries on two levels.  The proposed requirements at the Stock Management Unit (SMU) level are equivalent to those for normal (single stock) MSC assessments.  Additional requirements are defined for populations and sub-populations of salmon within SMUs. Methods for assessing the relevance of reference points at the SMU level and specific scoring issues addressing the underlying population diversity have been added to Principle 1.
  2. Specific principles and criteria intended to assess impacts of enhancement on the wild stock; its component populations and surrounding habitat are also included. Additional new enhancement PIs are proposed in Principle 1 (PI 1.3.1- PI 1.3.3), as well as additional scoring issues in PIs 1.1.3, 2.4.1, 2.5.1, and 2.5.2.  Furthermore the clause “and enhancement activities” is added throughout Principles 2 and 3.

Consultation questions

MSC is seeking stakeholder views on any aspect of the proposed requirements (Annex CM) and guidance (Annex GCM) included for download below.   

How to comment

This is an extended consultation open from 20 July 2012 until 18 September 2012.  Stakeholders may submit their comments using the contributor form (Word, 136 kb) or in other format to, with the subject heading ‘Default assessment tree for salmon”.

Next steps

Following this consultation and based on stakeholder input, modified requirements and guidance may be drafted. This will be submitted to the MSC Technical Advisory Board for consideration in October 2012.

Further information

Please direct any enquiries to:

Megan Atcheson

Consultation documents

The following supporting documents are available for this consultation.