Social Responsibility Tools Profile - MSC

The MSC standards are focused on fisheries’ environmental performance and sustainability and seafood supply chain assurance. However, we share the widespread concerns regarding social issues in the seafood industry and are working with other organisations to find practical solutions.

The MSC Labour Eligibility Requirements (version 1.0), released in October 2022, consolidates all of the MSC’s labor policies into a single scheme document. 

Labour Practices at Sea. All MSC certified fisheries and at-sea supply chain businesses have to make public their policy and practice to mitigate egregious labour abuse.

  • As a result of the MSC program, fisheries representing nearly a fifth of the world’s wild marine catch are reporting on their forced and child labour policies and the measures they take to prevent it, many for the first time.
  • Reports for every MSC certified fishery can be found on Track a Fishery.

Labour Practices in Supply Chains. Chain of custody certified businesses that have processing, packing, and manual offload of certified seafood in scope must undergo a third-party labour audit or submit a self-assessment report to MSC and allow MSC to potentially commission its own independent audit. 

Research on Labour Practices in Certified Fisheries. In 2022, MSC researchers reviewed the mechanisms present to mitigate forced and child labour in marine fisheries, using data from every fishery certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard as of 2020. For more information, see Tindall, C.; Oloruntuyi, O.; Lees, S.; Longo, C.S.; Schley, D.; Currey, R.J.C. Illuminating the mechanisms to mitigate forced and child labour risks within Marine Stewardship Council certified fisheries. Mar. Policy 2022, 143, 105140.

Eligibility for All MSC Applicants and Certificate Holders. Any fishing vessel or Chain of Custody entity that has been convicted of forced or child labour violations is ineligible for MSC certification for at least two years. 

The MSC Rules of Unacceptable Conduct requires the removal of entities from any fishery and supply chain client group implicated in the mistreatment of crew, fisheries observers, or workers on site.


  • The MSC is conducting research into the feasibility of requiring MSC certificate holders to have grievance mechanisms and a human rights policy in place as well as improvements to our labour eligibility requirements to clarify the practices which automatically exclude a business from becoming certified.

For questions or additional information, please contact Yemi Oloruntuyi, Head, Social Policy for MSC.