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MSC and ASC Chain of Custody

MSC and ASC Chain of Custody
Fish Swimming

Chain-of-custody (CoC) certification assures food retailers, restaurants, university dining services, seafood traders and consumers that your fish and seafood products meet the sustainability standards of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Sustainable Fishery and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Responsible Aquaculture programs. As an accredited conformity assessment body, we verify the traceability of fish and seafood throughout the entire supply chain.

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Program Details

Businesses eligible for MSC and ASC certification include:

  • Wholesalers
  • Processors
  • Restaurants
  • Food Retailers
  • Caterers
  • Distributors
  • Dining Facilities
  • Auction Houses
  • Cold Stores
Certification Types

Certifications are available to single site, multi-site and group client operations:

  • MSC Chain-of-Custody Certification (CoC) - Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) CoC certification indicates that your organization properly maintains the traceability and identity of fish and seafood products that have come from MSC certified sustainable fisheries.

  • ASC Chain-of-Custody Certification (CoC) - Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) CoC certification indicates that your organization properly maintains the traceability and identity of fish and seafood products that have come from ASC certified responsibly farmed sites. The ASC chain-of-custody certification requirements mirror the MSC chain-of-custody certification requirements except as noted in the ASC annex.

  • Dual Chain-of-Custody Certification - Companies can apply for a combined certificate for both MSC and ASC. Companies already holding a valid chain-of-custody certificate for either ASC or MSC can apply for a combined certificate by means of a simplified assessment process.

Complementary Services

SCS also offers the convenience of combining MSC or ASC chain-of-custody audits with HACCP inspections and food safety audits through our seafood safety auditing program.


By becoming MSC or ASC chain-of-custody certified, your business will be able to:

  • Gain a competitive edge in the marketplace by meeting customer demand for certified products
  • Reduce risk by assuring your buyers and customers that your certified seafood comes from legal and environmentally responsible sources
  • Promote your products with consumer-facing sustainability labeling
  • Help protect the marine environment and secure fish stocks for the future
  1. Submit application

    Submit an application. SCS prepares a proposal that includes the scope and cost of the audit. Sign and return the work order to begin the project.

  2. Pre-Audit

    Ensure procedures and record keeping are in place that can demonstrate to an auditor that you have: 1) received seafood product directly from the fishery or from a CoC certified vendor; 2) kept certified seafood product separate from non-certified seafood while in your ownership; and 3) correctly passed forward the claim on your packaging label,  invoice or other shipping document. Once the auditor is confident that your organization is prepared for the audit, we then schedule a mutually convenient time for your on-site audit.

  3. On-site Audit

    The SCS auditor visits your facilities to review your organization's control systems and a sample of documentation to verify traceability. The auditor then prepares an audit report.

  4. Corrective Actions

    Based on findings in the audit report, SCS issues corrective action requests as applicable. Your organization will respond to any non-conformities raised by the audit.

  5. Certification Decision

    SCS reviews the audit report as well as evidence of implementation of corrective actions before rendering a certification decision. Successful applicants are issued a CoC certificate and can sell certified product and promote their certification. Your organization is now eligible to enter into a license agreement with MSC to use the MSC or ASC ecolabel on packaging or in promotions.

  6. Surveillance Audits

    CoC certification is granted for three years and requires periodic surveillance audits relative to the risk of your operations.

Do I need to be Chain of Custody certified?

All companies in the supply chain from boat to plate that wish to sell ASC or MSC certified products must have a Chain of Custody (CoC) certification. If you wish to sell products that bear the MSC or ASC certification marks, you must have a CoC certification to ensure traceability.

How can I use the SCS Kingfisher certification mark?

Organizations that earn MSC or ASC certification from SCS may use the Kingfisher MSC or ASC labels on their products or promotional items. The Kingfisher is SCS’ on-product mark that communicates the certification achieved as well as a high quality assessment process. The Kingfisher is gaining recognition and appeal in the marketplace.  Certification mark use guidelines and images are provided upon achieving certification. 

How much does it cost to earn MSC or ASC Chain of Custody certification?

Prices for SCS auditing services vary depending on the location, size and complexity of your operation. Companies applying for multiple SCS services enjoy price discounts due to efficiencies (e.g., MSC Chain of Custody and Seafood HACCP). Please ask your sales associate about the types of certifications that might benefit your company.

How long does it take to become MSC or ASC Chain of Custody certified?

Customer service and responsiveness is our priority. We typically are able to send our auditors to your facility, provide you with an audit report, and make a certification decision within 6 to 8 weeks of starting the project. Larger and more complex projects may take longer.

How long is my Chain of Custody certificate valid?

Certification is granted for a three year period, with annual surveillance audits to confirm continued compliance with the MSC and ASC Chain of Custody standard requirements.

Program Documents


MSC CoC Default v4.0


MSC CoC Group v1.0


MSC CoC Consumer Facing Org. v1.0


RFM Chain of Custody Standard Version 2.4

MSC Seafood Chain of Custody BrochureBrochure: Seafood CoC Certification

View the benefits of chain-of-custody certification

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Jason Swecker
Program Manager, Seafood Chain of Custody

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