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MSC headquarters, London. (Photo: Geograph/Stephen Richards)

The MSC Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

  (UNITED KINGDOM, 3/27/2020)

As businesses and communities worldwide are adapting to travel bans, school closures and social distancing as a result of the global covid-19 pandemic, the team at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has changed the way it is working, to support its valued partners at this exceptionally challenging time.

Some of the changes the MSC has put in place since the virus outbreak include: 

MSC Offices

The MSC has temporarily closed most of its offices around the world, including the London headquarters, in response to government guidance and for the safety of its staff and stakeholders.

However, the MSC's colleagues globally are available during their usual office hours on email, by telephone and video conference. If you do not have a regular MSC contact person, the email and telephone contact details for regional offices are available here.

Some of MSC's offices in Asia-Pacific remain open or have re-opened. However, as the situation is changing quickly the MSC is asking to confirm in advance if you have an in-person meeting scheduled.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is temporarily allowing audits and fishery assessments to be conducted remotely in light of the coronavirus pandemic and in consideration of the welfare of all individuals participating in its certification program.

Audits and assessments

The MSC is temporarily allowing audits and fishery assessments to be conducted remotely. Audits of sustainable fisheries and businesses would normally be conducted on-site but the virus outbreak has led to allow independent auditors to conduct assessments remotely where necessary. This temporary change applies to both fisheries and supply chain organisations with an MSC certificate. 

Auditors should retain evidence of any restrictions which prevent site visits and maintain a list of certificate holders where remote assessments have been conducted.

Governance

The MSC’s Stakeholder Advisory Council and Technical Advisory Board will meet as scheduled in late May 2020, albeit virtually rather than in person. They will continue their work, advising the MSC Board of Trustees on key policy issues.

Seafood Futures Forum

After much consideration, the MSC has taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Seafood Futures Forum. The flagship event was planned for 22 April 2020 during Seafood Expo Global in Brussels. After the Seafood Expo was postponed, MSC had subsequently hoped to run the forum as a digital conference but given the rapidly evolving situation, the MSC does not believe the timing is appropriate for the event.

During the coming days and weeks  the MSC will be looking at other ways in which they can further adapt its program to minimise risks and support partners as they grapple with the immediate challenges faced by the industry.

The MSC works with auditors globally to assess fishing sustainability and traceability in supply chains that bring sustainable fish and seafood to consumers around the world.

About the MSC

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent non-profit organization which sets a standard for sustainable fishing. Fisheries that wish to demonstrate they are well-managed and sustainable compared to the science-based MSC standard are assessed by a team of experts who are independent of both the fishery and the MSC. Seafood products can display the blue MSC ecolabel only if that seafood can be traced back through the supply chain to a fishery that has been certified against the MSC standard.

Source: MSC

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