Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Looking for the MSC's main site?
Go to
Home Program improvements database Shark Finning Consultations Late-stage public consultation: Shark Finning (20 July-31 Aug 2012)

Shark Finning

Improvement complete.

What does this mean?



Next consultation

No current or upcoming consultations

Late-stage public consultation: Shark Finning (20 July-31 Aug 2012)

Start date: 20 July 2012
End date: 31 August 2012


Shark finning refers to the practice of removing any of the fins of a shark (including the tail) while at sea and discarding the remainder of the shark at sea (MOU on the conservation of migratory shark, 2010[1]). At its December 2011 meeting held in Berlin, the MSC Board of Trustees resolved that fisheries engaged in shark finning would not be eligible for certification to the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries.


The MSC executive is currently working on the implementation of this resolution into the MSC Certification Requirements (CR) and the development of the technical delivery mechanism. The proposal was subject to public consultation during 2012. The first round of public consultation was held March-April, where stakeholders provided feedback on the proposed changes. While stakeholders showed support for this policy development, some concerns were raised that in embedding the requirements in the CR, the MSC should ensure that there were no loopholes that would still allow shark finning practices to occur.


The purpose of this consultation is to seek stakeholder feedback on the proposed changes to the MSC CR and Guidance as needed to ensure that they enable consistent treatment by CABs and ensure that fisheries engaged in shark finning are not eligible for certification to the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries.

Who can comment?

This consultation is open to any interested stakeholders.

Documents out for consultation

Shark finning consultation document  (pdf, 182kb).

Proposed changes:

  • Create a new Performance Indicator (PI) under the Principle 3 (P3) component ‘Fishery Specific Management System’ (PI 3.2.6).
  • The proposed PI contains at the SG80 scoring guidepost (SG) level the reflection of best practices (fins attached), at SG60 compliance with 5% of the dressed carcass weight ratio and at 100SG the state of the art (fins attached and high level of monitoring).
  • Like the Management PIs for components in P2, the PI includes scoring issues that evaluate management effectiveness and the level of enforcement and monitoring necessary to ensure that shark finning is not being practiced.

In the consultation document the proposed changes to the CR and GCR are outlined.

Consultation questions

All comments are welcome; however it would be particularly helpful to receive stakeholders’ views on the following:

  1. Will the proposed requirements ensure that shark finning practices are not taking place?
  2. Are there situations where some fisheries would be unable to comply with fins attached regulations? In these cases, would the exceptional circumstances provide sufficient assurance that shark finning cannot occur.
  3. Will the proposed requirements create appropriate incentives for fisheries to land shark with fins naturally attached?
  4. What are the implications of the proposed requirements (negative or positive) in terms of the cost of assessments against the MSC fisheries standard, and the ‘bar’ that is required?

How to comment

Stakeholders may submit their comments using the contributor form (Word, 136kb) or in other format to, with the subject heading ‘Shark finning'.

Next steps

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

Further information

Please direct any enquiries to:

Patricia Bianchi

[1] "Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks".

Consultation documents

The following supporting documents are available for this consultation.