Current stage:

Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

Accessibility continues to be an area where the MSC put attention on, to ensure fisheries of all scale, intensity, geographical reach and gear types are able to participate and become certified as sustainable fisheries.

In 2009 the MSC integrated a Risk-Based Framework (RBF) into its Fisheries assessment methodology, to allow fishery with insufficient data to be assessed using a structured framework.

A number of issues have arisen in relation to its application in assessments. These issues can be summarized as:

  • Inconsistencies in the application of its methodology
  • Difficulties with its application and in interpreting requirements for species (Performance Indicators 1.1.1, 2.1.1, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1)
  • Concerns raised about the robustness of using the Spatial Intensity Consequence Analysis (SICA) in scoring data-deficient habitats.

Current status

During the 2013 - 2014 Fishery Standard Review (FSR) process, the MSC’s Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and Board of Trustees (BoT) approved the addition of two new methodologies: the Consequence Analysis (CA) and the Consequence Spatial Analysis (CSA). These revisions were included in Annex PF of the Fisheries Certification Requirements version 2.0 (FCRv2.0).

Core updates are outlined below:

  • CA and Productivity Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) for PI 1.1.1: Score will now be determined using both PSA and CA scores. The CA is based on the SICA, but requires consideration of semi-quantitative information and does not require scoring of spatial scale, temporal scale and intensity of the fishing activity. When setting conditions for PI 1.1.1, the restriction on the use of the RBF at re-assessment has been lifted, so long as the fishery is capable of raising both the CA and PSA score to at least 80 within the specified timeframe and prior to the re-scoring of the fishery at re-assessment.
  • PSA for PI 2.1.1, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1: Scores will now be determined using the PSA instead of SICA. In addition for PIs 2.1.1 and 2.2.1, species are allowed to be grouped according to similar taxonomies. Representative species from each group can then be scored and be used to determine the score for the group.
  • PSA developments and Principles 2 species: A specific productivity attribute for invertebrates has now been incorporated to the PSA in order to achieve the same probability of outcome (level of precautionary level) as for finfish.
  • Cumulative impacts of MSC unit of assessments (UoAs) for data-deficient species: Weighted average of PSA scores for each fishery affecting the given stock is calculated in order to derive the final PSA score. If catch proportions cannot be estimated quantitatively or qualitatively, the susceptibility score for the overall PSA shall be based on the attributes of the gear with the highest susceptibility score.
  • CSA for PI 2.4.1: In order to adequately assess the impact on habitat structure and function, the new CSA methodology has been incorporated when available information is inadequate to score the default Scoring Guideposts (SGs) within the Default Assessment Tree. The CSA acts as an alternative to the existing quantitative methodology for habitats to provide a semi-quantitative method rather than qualitative methods (SICA) to ensure the MSC’s intent with regards to habitats is met.

See section on Risk Based Framework for further clarification on these new requirements >

Read the full list of topics changed as a result of the FSR >

Planned work

The revised requirements issued on 1 October 2014 became effective on 1 April 2015.

  • Fisheries assessment processes (including first assessments, surveillance audits, certificate extensions and re-assessments) that commence after the effective date, 1 April 2015 have to use the new process requirements, with the exception of the RBF. The  use of the v2.0 RBF (Annex PF) with v1.3 standard is allowed only if a variation is requested.
  • Existing fisheries (in assessment or certified) have to apply the new standard  requirements in addition to the RBF requirements, at their first re-assessment commencing after 1 October 2017.
  • First full assessments that commence after the effective (i.e. 1 April 2015) date shall be conducted in accordance with the new standard requirements in FCRv2.0 in addition to using the new processes, including the RBF.

Download all current scheme documents >

Any fishery may elect to use the new process and standard requirements from publication (1 October 2014) if they choose and CABs can confirm their readiness to apply. For more information, please refer Implementation Timeframe or contact us at: