The MSC Chain of Custody assessment process is implemented from the moment the boat offloads the fish and continues throughout the whole supply chain up to the trader or retailer. The MSC standard aims to reassure the end-consumer that the product they receive is indeed the one that originates from a certified fishery.
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 five 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 organization has a management system
They provided us with great guidance and support throughout the Chain of Custody process.
Leo da Cruz, Production Manager WAHACA
Three catagories of Chain of Custody assesment.
The MSC individual assessment is applicable to any organization that has a single site (physical location) handling, processing and/or trading certified products.
The Multi-site assessment is ideal for companies with a small number of sites who prefer to delegate responsibility for the MSC certification to each site. In this way, if issues were found in the MSC chain of custody in a site only, the MSC certification for the remaining sites may not be affected. Each site is evaluated individually, and at the end of the process, a single certificate is provided to cover all evaluated sites of the incumbent company.
The MSC certification process for groups requires companies meet additional requirements such as internal audits and control of individual sites. These are to ensure group wide control by a central office. This procedure allows the certifying body not to audit all the individual sites, but only a reduced number of sites that will serve as a sample of the entire group. This option has the advantage of being more cost-effective for companies with a large number of sites, but on the other hand, any incident found in the MSC Chain of Custody in one site only has the ability to affect the certification of the entire group.
Control Union (UK) is especially strong in relation to the group requirements and currently holds the largest number of group certificates in Europe. We feel this experience is invaluable to any companies wishing to pursue this route to certification.