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MSC Fisheries and Chain of Custody Certification

MSC Chain of Custody

MSC Chain of CustodyThe MSC Chain of Custody assessment process is implemented from the boat landing the fish through to the wholesale dealer or retailer. The standard is aimed at providing confidence to the end-consumer that the product they receive is indeed the one that originates from the certified fishery that is stated.

Traceability is the main element of a Chain of Custody assessment; the integrity of both procedural and administrative systems must be demonstrated to the Conformity Assessment Body (CAB or the MSC word for the auditors!). to ensure compliance to the MSC’s standard four principles, validating that products come only from MSC certified fisheries.

The Five Principles of the MSC Standard (MSC, 2015) are:

  • Principle 1: Certified products are purchased from certified suppliers
  • Principle 2: Certified products are identifiable
  • Principle 3: Certified products are segregated
  • Principle 4: Certified products are traceable and volumes and recorded
  • Principle 5: The organisation has a management system

Three categories of Chain of Custody assessment

  • Individual assessment is appropriate for companies seeking certification of a single site. This is the most common type of assessment complete.

  • Multi-site assessment is appropriate for a company or companies seeking certification across a small number of sites but that do not wish to go through the more complicated group assessment process.

    Multi-site assessment follows the same assessment process as for individual site assessments with each site being assessed individually. At the completion of the process a single certificate is provided to cover all sites assessed.

    Mult-site assessment is particularly suitable for companies that operate individual autonomous sites but want MSC certification to be completed under one single certificate for ease of use.

  • Group assessment is appropriate for a company or group of companies seeking certification across a number of different site locations at once (restaurants chains, supermarkets, processors or catering company).

    The process requires companies to abide by the MSC group certification requirements which provide rules relating to the internal auditing and control of individual sites by the group entity (often the head office). In return the assessment body is able to audit a sample of the group’s site on a yearly basis. This can provides a much more economic option to companies.

    MEC are particularly strong in relation to the new group requirements and currently hold the largest number of group certificates within Europe. We feel this experience is invaluable to any companies wishing to start out on this route to certification.

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