Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification

Certification of Sustainable Fisheries

Gabriela Anhalzer   |  
+1 510.452.6393   |  

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification assesses a fishery against the three principles: 1) Stock health 2.) Environmental impacts 3.) Effective management. MSC certification assures buyers, retailers and general consumers that wild-capture fisheries conform to the internationally recognized standard for environmental sustainability.  SCS Global Services brings 25 years of successful certification experience to the assessment of both marine or fresh water fishery operations. 

The process of pursuing certification is divided into two parts:

1. Includes an initial gap analysis and readiness assessment for certification resulting in a report that either confirms readiness to progress into a public and transparent certification process or provides valuable insights into the development of a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP).

2. If progressing to the next phase, SCS will publicly post the report for stakeholder, peer review and MSC comments. The report is then updated to take into account all comments submitted, followed by a certification decision point report which itself is open to stakeholder comment prior to certification being awarded.

Why Choose SCS?

As a global leader in third-party certification for the past 40 years, SCS’ MSC certifications are thorough and competently executed so that your certification stands up to stakeholder, scientific and industry scrutiny. SCS can successfully conduct complex and simple assessments alike. We have certified operations ranging from large commercial fisheries to small community-based operations - more than two million metric tons of fish and shellfish worldwide, from Alaska to Antarctica. 

SCS also certifies seafood companies to the MSC Chain of Custody standard for seafood traceability and is accredited by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). Ready to start the process? Complete an Application.

  • Program Details
  • Process
  • Benefits
  • Certified Clients
  • FAQs
  • Program Documents
Eligible Wild-Capture Fisheries

Any freshwater or marine fishery - regardless of size, scale, ecology, or geography - can seek certification. Eligible wild-capture fisheries include, but are not limited to:

  • Single species and multiple species
  • Trawl, longline, handraked and pots
  • Freshwater and marine
  • Inshore and offshore
  • Pelagic and demersal

Eligible applicants include individuals, organizations, companies, government agencies, industry associations and local management authorities. The MSC has a program specifically designed to facilitate the participation of developing countries in certification.

Certification Criteria

Fisheries must meet or exceed the minimum standards in the following three areas:

  • Sustainability of target fish stock
  • Ecosystem integrity
  • Effective fishery management system
Complementary Services

SCS also offers the convenience of combined MSC Chain of Custody audits with HACCP inspections through our Seafood Safety auditing programs. We also provide custom services for retail clients interested in having their in-house seafood program standards validated.

Aquaculture fish farms may be certified under the Aquaculture Stewardship Council Standards.

MSC Pre-Assessments

We can conduct pre-assessments for your fishery operation in preparation for a full assessment. Pre-assessments allow clients to gauge their likely conformity to the MSC standard and identify any improvements needed. This allows clients to demonstrate their firm commitment to supplying MSC product to their buyers.

A pre-assessment includes:

  • Gap analysis of your operations against the standard
  • Publication of a report identifying any areas of improvement
MSC Full Assessments

We offer full assessments for fisheries ready to proceed through the full MSC certification process. The extent and cost of the full assessment will be contingent on the number and type of improvements identified through the pre-assessment.

Apply Now

Ready to start the process? Complete an Application.