MSC sets new UoA requirements

MSC The MSC's new UoA requirements will be released in August

All fishing activities on a target stock on a single trip will have to be certified against the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) sustainable fishing standard.

This follows a review of MSC’s Unit of Assessment (UoA) requirements in response to concerns that the current rule allows a vessel to catch fish from the same stock using both certified and uncertified fishing gear or catch methods on a single trip. Under the new requirements this will not be possible; certified seafood will only enter MSC certified supply chains if it comes from fishing trips on which all activities on the target stock are certified.

Speaking of the new UoA requirements, which will be released in August, Dr David Agnew, MSC’s science and standards director, said: “We have run a rigorous, objective and transparent process for developing, and ultimately adopting, these new rules.”


In line with FAO guidelines, fisheries entering assessment for the first time after February 2019 will need to comply with the new UoA requirements, and fisheries which are already under assessment or certified will have three years from August 2018 to make the transition to the new requirements. Compliance will be audited by MSC’s third party Conformance Assessment Bodies.

Dr Agnew added: “From the publication of the new requirements in August 2018, all fisheries in the MSC program will need to understand how these rules may impact their fishery, and start to work on any changes they may need to undertake to meet the new requirements within the defined timeframes."

The MSC Fisheries Standard, initially developed in 1997, originally allowed a fishery to define the target stock, management area, fishing gear and vessels – known as the UoA.

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