Board decision: Shark finning

At its December 2011 meeting held in Berlin, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Board of Trustees resolved that fisheries engaged in shark finning would not be eligible for certification to the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries.

Shark finning is defined as the practice of removing and retaining any of the fins (including the tail) of the shark, and returning the carcass of the shark to the sea.

The Board’s decision is based upon international norms and consensus, such as that expressed in the FAO’s International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, as well as scientific and management grounds.

This decision will become effective in January, 2013, with the release of the Certification Requirements at that time and following development of the technical implementation mechanism and opportunities for public consultation during 2012.  Once these changes to the CR are effective (in March, 2013) they will become applicable immediately for all certified and in-assessment fisheries. This means all fisheries will be expected to demonstrate compliance with the new requirements at their next annual surveillance audit following this release. Due to this rapid implementation, MSC advises CABs to make your clients and prospective clients aware of this MSC board direction as soon as possible.

For more information and to view this release online please go to