Dear UCSL Fishery Clients,

We would like to inform you about important changes to the MSC Fisheries Requirements, which came into effect on May 1, 2023.
These changes aim to enhance the standards and processes for fisheries certification. Please take note of the following key points:

30 May 2023
Implementation Timeframes:

  • Initial assessments will be conducted against the MSC Fisheries Standard v3.0 as soon as possible.
  • Existing Units of Certification will be given a minimum of 3 years to come into compliance with the revised Standard, as per Essential Component A.3.22 of the 'GSSI Global Benchmark Tool.'
  • Units of Certification will be assessed against the MSC Fisheries Standard v3.0 within 6 years of its publication on October 26, 2022.
  • UCSL will conduct any initial assessment announced on or after May 1, 2023, and any reassessment announced on or after November 1, 2025, in accordance with the MSC Fisheries Standard v3.0.
  • For fisheries certified against a version of the MSC Fisheries Standard published before v3.0, UCSL will apply the MSC Fisheries Standard v3.0 by November 1, 2028, as per the MSC Fisheries Certification Process v3.0 7.32.
MSC General Certification Requirements Version 2.5:

  • The effective date for version 2.5 of the General Certification Requirements (GCR) is May 1, 2023.
  • The GCR requirements specific to fishery assessments will be applied to assessments and audits starting on or after May 1, 2023.
    For fisheries, the start date is the announcement date.
Scope Requirements:

  • To be eligible for certification against the MSC Fisheries Standard, a fishery must meet specific scope criteria outlined in Section 1 of the MSC Fisheries Standard v3.0.
  • The Unit of Assessment (UoA) must not target species from certain taxa under Principle 1 (Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Mammals).
  • The UoA must not use poisons or explosives.
  • Enhanced fisheries and introduced species-based fisheries have additional scope criteria to fulfill.
General Requirements:

  • UCSL focuses all assessments of fisheries against the MSC Fisheries Standard on the outcomes of the fisheries management process and the strategies implemented to achieve those outcomes.
  • The Risk-Based Framework (RBF) requirements and modified default assessment tree requirements are followed as applicable.
Interpretations and Derogations:

  • UCSL recommends that assessment teams regularly check the MSC Interpretations Log for clarifications and guidance on requirements in the Fisheries Certification Process, Fisheries Standard, and General Certification Requirements.
  • Derogations, temporary normative measures, are posted on a public log, as well as UCSL website.
Assessing UoCs after the Transition Deadline against the MSC Fisheries Standard v3.0:

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the updated requirements and ensure compliance within the specified timeframes.

Our team at UCSL is available to address any questions or concerns you may have regarding these changes.
Thank you for your attention, and we appreciate your continued commitment to sustainable fisheries practices.


UCSL Fishery Team