Current stage:

Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

This project page relates to work from the 2013-2014 Fisheries Standard Review. You can see current program developments on shark finning here

Shark finning was subjected to a recent MSC consultation exercise in 2011-2012 but it was not included in the original scope of the 2013-2014 Fisheries Standard Review due to a Board decision in February 2013. However, feedback received from stakeholders during the FSR process confirmed the view that increasing science and management best practice supported the conclusion that the fin-to-carcass ratio method was not a reliable indicator and that a fin naturally attached (FNA) policy should be implemented.

The Board subsequently directed the Executive to consult on this matter. The proposal for an expedited consultation was developed as follows:
  • Continue to allow landing of fins and carcases separately at the scoring guidepost (SG) 60 level
  • Remove the possibility of landing fins and carcases separately at the SG80 and SG100 levels
  • Slightly broaden the definition of processing to allow for "utilisation" that includes processing.

Current status

During the FSR process the MSC’s Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and Board of Trustees (BoT) approved the proposal of removing the possibility of landing fins and carcass separately at the SG80 and SG100 whilst strengthening the fins off requirements in SG60. These revisions have been included in Annex SA of the Fisheries Certification Requirements version 2.0 (FCRv2.0).

Core updates are outlined below:

MSC requirements prohibit shark finning; and a fishery will be scored on the level of certainty that shark finning is not taking place. The conformity assessment body (CAB) should not certify or maintain the certification of a fishery when there is objective verifiable evidence of shark finning.

Best practice for ensuring shark finning is not occurring comes from sharks being landed with FNA. Thus, when fisheries land sharks with FNA, scores of 80 or 100 will be allocated depending on the level of external validation in place.

Where landing sharks with FNA is not possible, for example when sharks are destined for processing and utilization, an adequate level of regulation, full documentation of the destination of shark bodies, and independent observation are required.

If sharks are landed with fins separate from the body and are not destined for processing, there needs to be good external validation (e.g. at least 20 per cent observer coverage) and the fins and carcasses should be landed in an appropriate ratio specific to the shark species landed.

See section on fisheries standard 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 will become 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 wish and CABs can confirm their readiness to apply. For more information, please refer Implementation Timeframe or contact us at: