- What kind of organization is MSC?
- What kind of organization is ASC?
- What is the difference between Fishery/Aquaculture Certification and COC Certification?
- Does the final retailer need to get COC Certification?
- What is the MSC ecolabel and ASC logo?
- What happens to parties that use the MSC ecolabel/ASC logo or their wording without permission?
- What happens during an assessment?
- What happens if nonconformities are found during the main assessment? Is certification impossible?
- Is there a certain period of validity for the certification?
- How are Certificate codes issued? Is one issued to each type of seafood or to each supplier?
- Must the package bear an MSC ecolabel/ASC logo when MSC/ASC-certified products (raw materials) are imported?
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
1. What kind of organization is MSC?
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1997 to promote responsible fisheries. Its aims include changing losses in seafood resources to gains, helping fishers maintain their livelihoods and improving ocean conservation worldwide.
2. What kind of organization is ASC?
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is a non-profit organization founded in 2009 to promote responsible aquaculture. Demand for farmed fish is rising all over the world responding to the depletion of wild marine resources, however there are several problems pointed out such as water pollution, species which escapes from the farm threatens a local ecosystem, unfair labor practice, child labor, and so on. ASC certifies the aquacultural products that are environmentally friendly, and considering the rights of labors and local communities.
3. What is the difference between Fishery/Aquaculture Certification and COC Certification?
MSC Fishery Certification refers to the certification given to the fisheries which ensure sustainable control of wild marine resources, and ASC Aquaculture Certification is given to the farms managed in the way which is environmentally and socially responsible.
COC Certification refers to the certification given to processors and trading companies that handle MSC/ASC certified products in order to prevent contamination of non-certified products during the stages of processing and distribution. COC is an abbreviation for Chain of Custody.
4. Does the final retailer need to get COC Certification?
Department stores, supermarkets and other retailers do not have to get COC Certification to sell the final packaged products to consumers. However, retailers need to conclude a logo license agreement with MSC International and ASC International if they wish to run advertising that mentions MSC/ASC, for example, putting up in-store advertisements promoting MSC/ASC-certified products. You can submit the MSC logo license agreement to MSC International. ASC logo license agreement also can be applied to MSC International which stands in for ASC.
5. What is the MSC ecolabel and ASC logo?
The MSC ecolabel and ASC logo are applied to marine products taken from well managed marine environments, to help prevent overharvesting of marine resources. The MSC ecolabel and ASC logo are testament given to the certification holders or certified products which are compliant with international certification standards. When consumers select marine products with the MSC ecolabel and ASC logo, it supports fishers who make exceptional efforts to protect marine resources and the ocean environment. This empowers consumers themselves to help keep marine resources abundant.
6. What happens to parties that use the MSC ecolabel/ASC logo or their wording without permission?
The MSC ecolabel and ASC logo are the legally protected trademark. Parties that use it without permission may receive a claim from MSC/ASC for compensation worth even more than the profit earned from unauthorized use.
7. What happens during an assessment?
The COC Certification assessment has two main parts: a document inspection and on-site assessment. During the document inspection, the certification body's auditors examine invoices, delivery statements, agreement with affiliated companies and outside contractors, training records and other documents to check whether the MSC ecolabel is being correctly used.
During the on-site assessment, on the other hand, the auditors go directly to the site to check such matters as whether MSC-cetified raw materials are being kept separate from non-certified raw materials and are being managed so that they are not mixed.
8. What happens if nonconformities are found during the main assessment? Is certification impossible?
Any nonconformities will be pointed out at the time of the main assessment. Depending on the severity of the nonconformity, certification may be approved after corrections are made or it may be approved on the condition that such corrections will be made within a certain period.
9. Is there a certain period of validity for the certification?
MSC Fishery Certification and ASC Aquaculture Certification are valid for five years and MSC COC and ASC COC Certification for three years. Basically, surveillance is conducted once a year, however as for MSC COC and ASC COC, the frequency of surveillance varies depending on the result of risk assessment. If periodic surveillance audits determine that the certified body has remained continuously in conformity, its certificate is valid for three years. If the party wishes its certification to continue after three years, it undergoes renewal assessment. Subsequent renewals take place similarly every three years.
10. How are Certificate codes issued? Is one issued to each species or to each supplier?
AIEC will explain MSC/ASC Certificate codes when you get certification. One certificate code is given to the primary business acquiring certification.
(*Subsidiary codes may be issued to individual shops, etc., in the case of group certification.)
11. Must the package bear an MSC ecolabel/ASC logo when MSC/ASC-certified products (raw materials) are imported?
It is not required that imported products have the MSC ecolabel/ASC logo on the container or pallet. However, final products that retailers sell to consumers must bear the MSC ecolabel/ASC logo or clearly state information such as the organization's COC Certificate code.