Current stage:

Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

MSC currently allows under-assessment product (UMAF) to be sold into the supply chain, but with very specific requirements and the process is complicated – leading to confusion and credibility risks for the MSC and stakeholders.

Following the completion of the Chain of Custody Program Review, the MSC has revised the requirements for UMAF, where it is now included as part of the release of the Chain of Custody (CoC) Standard on 20 February 2015.

Current status

Following feedback from two rounds of public consultation, The MSC’s Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and Board of Trustees (BoT) approved the release of the updated CoC Standard Version 4.0.

Core updates are outlined below:

1. Eligibility: Companies can only buy and store under-assessment product if:

  • They are part of a fishery undergoing assessment, or
  • They are part of a farm undergoing ASC assessment, or
  • They are a named member of the client group for a fishery / farm.

Note: Eligible companies must retain ownership of the product until the fishery /  farm is certified, but they are able to use third party storage or subcontractors to handle the product where needed.

2. Handling of under-assessment product: Companies eligible under point 1 must ensure that any under-assessment product:

  • Is clearly identified and segregated
  • Is fully traceable back to the unit of certification
  • Cannot be sold or labelled as 'certified' or with the ecolabel until the source fishery or farm has been certified

3. Scope extensions: Companies that meet the eligibility criteria no longer need to notify their certifier or receive a 'scope extension' before they can purchase under-assessment product.

View the MSC Chain of Custody Standard versions >

For detailed guidance on the new requirements, refer to the transitional support for MSC under-assessment product >

Planned work

Requirements for handling under-assessment product (UMAF) issued on 20 February 2015 became effective for all CoC certified organisations and applicants as of 1 September 2015. After 1 September 2015 companies will have to comply with these new requirements to buy under-assessment product (UMAF).

Any company that has under-assessment product in stock as of 1 September 2015 will be permitted to keep this inventory and can sell eligible under-assessment products as MSC or ASC-certified only when the fishery / farm is certified.

Download the transitional support document written for certificate hodlers >

Download all current scheme documents >

For more information, please refer Implementation Timeframe or contact us at: To learn about further program improvement activities, please visit here.