Marine Stewardship Council Begins Consultation Period of Fisheries Standard Review Process

The Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) Fisheries Standard is the benchmark used to assess if a fishery is well-managed and sustainable, and determines whether a fishery is eligible to label its products with the coveted blue MSC label. A fishery will not be MSC certified unless the accreditation bodies determine that a fishery meets the Fisheries Standard core principles and benchmarks.

Every five years, the MSC reviews its Fisheries Standard with the intent of incorporating widely accepted new science and fisheries management best practices, as well as improving the implementation of the Fisheries Standard.  The last review was complete in 2014. The open consultation for the 2021 review recently launched, and MSC is seeking stakeholder input. 

The Fisheries Standard review process includes a consultation period, which recently began and will run through 2021. Interested stakeholders can register for any consultation event of interest. These consultations provide important opportunities for stakeholders to express concerns, provide suggested changes, and raise other issues with the Fisheries Standard. The focus of the consultation period for MSC’s Fisheries Standard review in 2020 covers a number of areas, including clarifying the assessment of key low trophic level species, and ensuring that effective fisheries management systems are in place. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, all consultations this year will occur online. 

The Fisheries Standard review provides a limited opportunity for stakeholders to influence the Fisheries Standard within the MSC framework. Unlike other MSC processes, this review process allows stakeholders to directly engage with the MSC to improve the MSC Fisheries Standard. More information is available here.

Beveridge & Diamond's Fisheries and Aquaculture industry group advises on the broad range of environmental, health, and safety issues impacting the fishing and aquaculture industries’ facilities, operations, and products. A number of our lawyers have biology or ecology backgrounds, personal experience working with fisheries, and unique perspectives from years of government service. B&D offers physical presence in major fishing markets, as well as experience with fisheries off all U.S. coasts and in major fresh water bodies across the country.