Current stage:

Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

The MSC CoC Standard is core to the MSC's mission to ensure its ecolabel is only displayed on seafood that has originated from MSC certified sustainable fisheries.

Following the completion of the Chain of Custody Program Review, the MSC has revised and released its Chain of Custody (CoC) Standard on 20 February 2015. The revised Standard gives greater clarity, accessibility, efficiency and rigour.

Current status

    Following feedback from two rounds of public consultation, The MSC’s Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and Board of Trustees (BoT) approved the release of the updated CoC Standard Version 4.0.

    Core updates are outlined below:

    • All company requirements are in one consolidated document, with new guidance provided.
    • Several areas of the CoC Standard have been revised to improve clarity and consistency - these include: clearer traceability requirements for products that are not sold as certified, purchasing from certified suppliers only, demonstrating that yield rates are accurate and justifiable, and confirming the certified status of products upon receipt.
    • Requirements for Group CoC are now aligned with the Default (single / multi-site) CoC Standard where relevant, but have been released as a separate Group version of the Standard.
    • In addition, A new optional version of the CoC Standard - Consumer-Facing Organisation (CFO) version has been developed. This includes contract caterers, restaurants / restaurant chains, fishmongers, and retailer fish counters. See further details on Consumer Facing Operators program item >
    • Under-assessment product (previously UMAF) requirements have been revised to limit eligibility and reduce confusion: Now only MSC fisheries or Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) farms, or companies that are named members of the client group for a fishery / farm are eligible to buy and handle under-assessment product (no other CoC certified companies will be eligible). See further details on Under MSC-Assessment Fish (UMAF) review >

    View the MSC Chain of Custody Standard versions >

    View the summary of changes to the Chain of Custody Standard >

    Planned work

    The revised CoC Standard issued on 20 February 2015 became effective on 1 September 2015.

    • All audits carried out on or after this date will be against one of the new Standard versions.
    • Companies can choose to be audited against one of the new Standard versions after 20 February 2015, if their auditor is trained and ready (clients should check with their certifier).
    • Implementation timeframes differ for clients currently using under-assessment product (previously known as ‘Under MSC-Assessment Fish’, or ‘UMAF’) clauses. Find out more >

    Download the transitional support document written for certificate holders >

    Download all current scheme documents >

    For more information, please refer Implementation Timeframe or contact us at: To learn about further program improvement activities, please visit here.