The Certification Process

 Fisheries Certifications

Fishery certifications are undertaken by an independent certifying company (MRAG Americas, Inc.) at the request of a Client. The certification process involves several steps to assess compliance with the MSC’s Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing. The assessment process consists of a preliminary desk study (the Pre-Assessment) to review all existing data on the fishery and identify any barriers to a full assessment. The subsequent full assessment provides a formal and public evaluation of the fishery against the Principles and Criteria. This process distinguishes issues to be resolved in order for the fishery to become certified. The final phase of a successful assessment concludes with the issuance of a certificate identified by a unique registration number and expiration date that specifies which species and, if relevant, which parts of the fishery or fisheries have been approved for certification. In addition, the certificate may specify who is entitled to enter fish or fish products into chains of custody. MRAG Americas will notify the MSC of the issuance of a certificate.

Learn more about our Fisheries in Assessment.

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Chain of Custody

Chain of Custody is the traceability element of the MSC certification program. If a fishery is assessed to the MSC Standard for Sustainable Fishing, use of the MSC eco-label on seafood products is permitted only where there has been independent verification that the product originated from a certified fishery. An independent certification against the Chain of Custody Standard provides this verification. Chain of Custody audit includes precise documentation to verify traceability. MRAG has a network of chain of custody auditors around the country and the world available on short notice for audits.

MRAG  is now also accredited to provide assessment services for products sourced from Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified aquaculture operations. In seeking to harmonize the certification efforts within the seafood industry, the ASC and MSC have teamed up to offer joint Chain of Custody certification under the MSC standard. MRAG can now assess current MSC COC certificate holders for the incorporation of ASC certified products into their scope. Equally, MRAG can offer new clients the ability to include products sourced from MSC certified fisheries and ASC certified aquaculture operations around the world.

For detailed information on the products that they have available, please visit

For more information please contact:

Amanda Stern-Pirlot
Senior Fisheries Consultant and MSC Program Manager
MRAG Americas–Seattle
1631 15th Ave W, Suite 201
Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: +1 (206) 669-0439

Customer License Code MSCI0408
ASC corporate - right

MRAG Americas is fully accredited by ASI to perform fishery and chain of custody certifications