Previous stage:

Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation
This page describes the state of the program improvement in the past.
The improvement left this stage on 15 January 2013; view the current state.

Improvement overview

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 (Memorandum Of Understanding on the conservation of migratory shark, MOU, 2010).

Shark finning is gaining recognition around the world as an unacceptable and illegal practice. It is recognized as illegal by more than 20 countries and most of the Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) have bans on shark finning. Further there are several UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolutions that call for a ban of shark finning.

In line with our usual process of reviewing our standards and requirements in relation to current scientific understanding and global best practice in fisheries management, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is looking to review, and possibly revise and clarify the requirements with respect to shark finning.

The objective of this project is to ensure the MSC requirements are consistent with international best practice management. The expected outcome of this work is that assessments of fisheries discards reflect best practices, are in line with the intent of the fisheries Standard, and satisfy our strategic objectives of globally relevant and consistent certification requirements.

Current status

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.

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 March, 2013, following development of the technical implementation mechanism and opportunities for public consultation during 2012.

This  policy item went through two public consultation stages in March and August. Please, check under ‘Consultation’ for more information on the consultation history.

During the consultation stages, comments were received by a wide range of stakeholders. The MSC is currently reviewing the feedback received and the proposal that will go for TAB consideration on October 29, 2012.

The MSC will provide specific responses via email to consultees after the TAB meeting.

Planned work

Activity 4: Continue reviewing best practices on shark finning to complete the implementation proposal including the implementation and monitoring phase. (COMPLETED)

Activity 5: Working groups scheduled to work in preparing options and recommendations. (COMPLETED)

Activity 6: Incorporate agreed recommendations into a paper for public consultation (following MSC consultation procedure) in June- August 2012. (COMPLETED)

Activity 7: Public consultation late June- early August 2012 on CR amendments to be proposed for sign-off in late 2012. (COMPLETED)

Activity 8: Depending on outcome of consultations, a TAB paper with first amendments to CR for sign-off in late 2012. (CURRENT)

Activity 9: Changes incorporated into the CR. New version of the CR released late 2012 to be implemented immediately for all certified and under assessment fisheries.

For previous activities see the development stage.