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After certification: Chain of Custody resources

When you have Chain of Custody certification you're part of a global network of traceable, sustainable seafood supplies.

Buy and sell MSC certified seafood

You can find suppliers around the world with MSC Chain of Custody certificates using our Find a supplier directory.

Promote your certification with the MSC label 

The blue MSC label is one of the most effective tools to communicate sustainability to seafood consumers and can be found on over 25,000 products in around 100 countries.  

Apply to use the MSC label

What's my MSC Chain of Custody code?

When you are certified, the MSC will generate a Chain of Custody code for use in documentation. 

Where can I find my supplier’s, customer’s or my code? 

You can check on our Find a supplier directory.

Will my code ever change? 

In the majority of cases, your code will remain the same for the entire time you are certified. Your code would only change under rare circumstances, for example:  

  • If you had a single-site certificate and join an existing group or multi-site certificate, you would need to adopt the existing multi-site certificate code.  
  • If you were previously part of a multi-site or group certificate and left to obtain a separate single-site Chain of Custody certificate, you would be assigned a new code.


What if something changes?

If your operations change during your 3-year Chain of Custody certification, you will need to report these to your certifier.

When to report changes to your certifier:

Changes Requirements for informing your certificate holders 
  • You become aware of an issue which means that some products do not conform to the MSC’s requirements 

Notify within 2 days of detecting the issue
  • Appointing a new member of staff as your MSC contact person 
  • Adding a new certified species 
  • Adding a new certified supplier 
  • For Group: Adding or removing a site 

Inform within 10 days of the change occurring, or within 10 days of: 

  • receiving first delivery of the new species 
  • receiving first delivery from the new supplier 
  • Undertaking a new activity that is not already in your certificate scope 
  • Handling ASC certified products for the first time 
  • Using a new contract processor or packer for certified product 
  • For Group certificate holders: increasing the number of sites included in your certificate by up to 10% (included in an updated site list) 
  • For Consumer-Facing Organisation (CFO) certificate holder: increasing the number of sites included in your certificate by more than 50% 

Inform before the change occurs 

The certification body will provide written approval of this change and may require an on-site or remote audit before authorising any changes  

  • New / different product form, type of storage or product presentation 
  • Adding a new storage subcontractor 

Inform during surveillance and re-certification audits 

The certificate holder can agree more frequent reporting with the certification body if they wish 

For CFO certificate holder: updating your site list 
Inform within 5 days of receiving a request from your certification body

Handling under-assessment product

Under-assessment product, formerly known as “Under-MSC-Assessment Fish” (UMAF), relates to seafood harvested while a fishery is undergoing assessment to the MSC Fisheries Stanard, before it is certified but after a designated ‘Eligibility Date’. This assessment process usually takes around 18 months to complete. 


Companies can only buy and store under-assessment product if they are: 

  • part of a fishery undergoing assessment, 
  • part of a farm undergoing ASC assessment, or 
  • a named member of the client group for a fishery/farm.  

Eligible companies must retain ownership of the product until the fishery/farm is certified, but they are able to use third party storage or subcontractors to handle the product where needed. 

Companies eligible to handle under-assessment product must ensure that it: 

  • Is clearly identified and segregated 
  • Is fully traceable back to the unit of certification 
  • Is not sold or labelled as 'certified' or with the ecolabel until the source fishery or farm has been certified.

ASC Chain of Custody

All Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified companies are assessed to the MSC Chain of Custody Standard.  

If you are already certified for MSC Chain of Custody and want to handle ASC certified products, your certifier will need to conduct a risk assessment. In most cases, certifiers will be able to issue certificates for ASC products without having to conduct an onsite audit. Companies certified to handle both MSC and ASC certified products receive two separate certificates - one for ASC Chain of Custody and one for MSC Chain of Custody.


Changes to the Standard

The MSC Chain of Custody Standard is reviewed and updated at least every three years. Smaller changes to the Certification Requirements may be incorporated more frequently.  We value your input and run a consultation on any significant changes. You can find and comment on policies under review via the MSC program improvements website.


Raising a complaint about your certifier

All MSC certifiers are accredited by Accreditation Services International (ASI). All certifiers have a formal complaints procedure. If you need to raise a complaint about your certifier/an auditor, please use your certifier’s complaints procedure as a first step. You can find this on their website, or request it from them directly. If you are not satisfied with their response, you can raise a complaint directly with ASI.


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An overview of what to expect from the Chain of Custody certification process.

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