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What is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)The MSC is the worldís leading eco-label for sustainable fish and seafood. Any fish with the MSC label can be traced back to a sustainable source. The science behind the label is world-class. MSC worked with the best experts around to world to develop scientific standards for sustainable fishing and rigorous chain of custody standard for traceability.

If fishing companies, suppliers and fish and chip shops meet these standards, they can then use the blue MSC label in order to demonstrate the sustainability of their products.
This label makes it easy for all consumers to choose seafood which has been caught by fishermen who care for the environment and are ensuring that there are plenty more fish in the sea for future generations.

The MSC is a global charity (registered charity number 1066866) that aims to address the global challenge of overfishing and safeguard fish and seafood supplies for the future.

What is Chain of Custody?

The MSC Chain of Custody Standard is a traceability certification scheme. It works at every level in the supply chain from certified sustainable boats to the final sale. Each company in the supply chain handling or selling an MSC certified product must have a valid MSC Chain of Custody certificate. This makes sure that MSC labelled fish and seafood comes from a certified sustainable fishery.

MSC Chain of Custody

Why become MSC certified?

Pilot MSC Fish & Chip ShopsThe demand for traceable, sustainably caught fish and seafood is increasing around the world.

Choosing MSC Chain of Custody certification offers buyer and customer assurance. Many fish and chip shops have already chosen MSC Chain of Custody certification, because:

  1. Your business can satisfy increased consumer demand for traceable and sustainable fish, accessing new and customers.
  2. Being MSC certified opens up new promotional opportunities.
  3. Certification can enhance your businesses reputation.
  4. By being MSC certified, you are helping to secure fish and seafood supplies for the future!

"For us it's not just about saying you do something, it's about proving you do it. The MSC's Chain of Custody and ecolabel are a great way to demonstrate and assure everyone of our sustainable practice" Calum Richardson - The Bay Fish and Chips, 1st MSC certified Fish and Chip shop in the UK, UK No.1 Independent Takeaway 2013 and NFFF Quality Award holder.

"The MSCís blue tick ecolabel is the best recognised and most trusted indicator of seafood sustainability, and shows customers at a glance that you're protecting the oceans - so weíre delighted that it will now be easier for NFFF members to become MSC certified." Gregg Howard - NFFF president and owner of Our Plaice in Hagley.

How do I get MSC Chain of Custody certified?

Getting MSC certified is easier than ever by applying through the NFFF. Shops and restaurants now have the option of applying for a combined NFFF Quality award and MSC chain of custody certification.

Below is an outline of how to prepare and apply for MSC certification. You can download the full preparation guidance here

Steps to becoming MSC Certified

To start your journey to become MSC certified, we recommend that you visit our helpful documents folder. Here, you will find an easy to use certification handbook, tips for completing your MSC onsite audit and staff training materials.

Once you have read through these documents, you can begin your online MSC application form here. Just follow the simple step-by-step document, and if you have any questions, contact Helen Brook at

* Check if your current supplier is MSC certified on the MSCís online supplier directory.


Type of Certification Cost
MSC Certification for Quality Award Holders £250 (including VAT)
MSC Certification and NFFF Quality award for Non-NFFF Members £730 (including VAT)
MSC Certification and NFFF Quality award for NFFF Members £670 (including VAT)

*** There is also a cost to using the MSC ecolabel, which depends on the amount of MSC certified seafood that your business purchases. This cost can be as little as £160 per year.

The UKís MSC certified fish and chip shops

The number of MSC certified fish and chip shops across the UK are growing rapidly. Many of these shops have been nominated for, and won awards including:

Simpsons Fish and Chips
Winner of the UKís Best Fish and Chip Takeaway 2016
Quayside Fish and Chips
Winner of the UKís Best Fish and Chip Takeaway 2014
The Bay Fish and Chips
Winner of the UKís Best Fish and Chip Takeaway 2013 and The Good Catch Award 2013
Kingfisher Fish and Chips
Good Catch Award 2016,_uk_commercial_manager,_msc_with_nikki.jpg?time=1462448499

Read about the MSCís success at the 2016 annual Seafish Fish and Chip awards, where 6 of the category winners were MSC certified and 8 out of 10 of the regional winners for "The UK's Best Fish and Chip Shop Takeaway" were also MSC certified.

"This very bold step helps all our members and every fish and chip shop in the country to gain better access to the MSC's Chain of Custody scheme and prove their commitment to sourcing, selling and labelling fish from fully certified sustainable fisheries.

The scheme makes the whole process very simple and the cost savings gained by combining the Quality Award with the MSC auditing will be welcomed by the industry as well."

Craig Maw - Owner of Kingfish Fish & Chips, Plymouth and NFFF Board Member

Photo (right): Nikki and Craig Maw pictured with George Clark from the MSC at the National Fish and Chip Shop Awards 2016.