OIA - Organización Internacional Agropecuaria | Servicio Internacional de Certificación
OIA - Organización Internacional Agropecuaria | Servicio Internacional de Certificación OIA - Organización Internacional Agropecuaria | Servicio Internacional de Certificación


1- What is MSC?

The MSC is a global independent not-for-profit entity created to find a solution for the overfishing problem. It was created in by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund – an international entity dedicated to nature preservation) and Unilever (the world’s biggest seafood buyer). Since 1999 it is a fully independent entity. Nowadays, it has the support of many organizations all over the world.

2- Why is it necessary the MSC Certification?

There is a global crisis in fish stocks all over the world. When fisheries collapse, not only sea ecosystems are threatened, but also local economies.

Fish products which comply with MSC standard for sustainable and well managed fisheries can carry MSC Ecolabel. This market incentive encourages fisheries to voluntarily seek MSC certification, which directly influences their management.
MSC Ecolabel highlights good fishing practices and provides consumers the certainty that they are not contributing to the over-fishing problem. Besides, it offers seafood consumers real information and the power to have a real influence through their purchasing decisions.

3- What is the meaning of MSC Ecolabel?

MSC Ecolabel means that the product has been evaluated by an independent certifier as OIA and has reached MSC standard.

All products carrying the Ecolabel also have the following statement: 'This product comes from a fishery that complies with the environmental standard of the Marine Stewardship Council for well-managed and sustainable fisheries.'

With this information, consumers know that buying products which carry MSC Ecolabel they support healthier seas and environments.

4- What general aspects of a fishery does MSC program evaluate?

  • Fishery stocks, ecosystems and healthy environments.
  • Effective legal systems and fishery management plans.
  • Surveillance and monitoring of fishing activities.
  • Environmentally friendly fishing methods.
  • Use of quotas and catch limits for different species.
  • Socially responsible fisheries which take into account the needs of involved communities.
  • Economic and commercial aspects.
  • Consideration of the objective points of view of all parties involved in the fishery.

5- Who evaluates the fishery?

OIA selects a team of national and/or international scientists and experts to evaluate the fishery, who are experienced in covering all aspects of MSC Principles and Criteria.

The team prepares a Preliminary Report that is commented with the applicant, the external reviewers and the general public. OIA’s Certification Committee evaluates the information and allows the Full Report which results in a certification decision.

6- How long does it take to obtain MSC Certification?

The estimated time for the different stages of the certification process is:
  • Pre-evaluation: 1 to 9 months.
  • Full assessment: Between 12 and 24 months if there are no objections, depending on the complexity of the fishery. The average time for certified fisheries is 14-18 months.

7- Is the Certification Report of public access?

The Report for Public Commentary is only released when the applicant and external reviewers have issued their commentaries. The Final Report is published in MSC website: www.msc.org

8- Does MSC certification apply to aquaculture products?

The MSC program does not presently reach aquaculture operations.

The MSC evaluation process applies to natural sea and freshwater fisheries.