MSC suspends some Russian pollock certifications

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) last week announced it was suspending the chain of custody (CoC) certifications for five companies connected to the Russian pollock supply chain after it carried out a compliance audit to monitor the integrity of the chain.

Between October 2013 and February 2014, the MSC conducted a detailed reconciliation exercise on global sales and purchasing of MSC certified and “under MSC assessment fish” (UMAF) pollock. Under MSC’s UMAF requirements, some products harvested during a fishery assessment period may eventually be sold as “MSC” once the fishery is certified, subject to specific constraints. Through the collection of data on volumes of certified products bought and sold at different points along the supply chain, the MSC can verify whether UMAF procedures were followed correctly.

MSC contacted 75 CoC-certified companies from different parts of the global supply chain to request sales and purchasing volumes of MSC certified and UMAF Pollock products from Alaskan and Russian Sea of Okhotsk fisheries.

Under the MSC CoC, companies are required to respond to the request and five companies did not respond, resulting in suspension of the companies certification by the conformance assessment body (CAB).

The reconciliation showed that the majority of fish sold as UMAF by the members of Pollock Catchers Association, the client group for the Russian SOO pollock fishery, was handled by companies further down the supply chain as non-MSC certified product. Where UMAF fish was sold as MSC certified pollock, following the fishery certification, full compliance with UMAF requirements was demonstrated.


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