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How To Obtain Chain of Custody

What is Chain of Custody:

In order for any product from a certified fishery to be sold using the MSC Ecolabel, the product must remain in the Chain of Custody each time it is sold to a new owner.  Each Chain of Custody licensee will be audited annually.

How Does a Maine Lobster Product enter the Chain of Custody:

Only a Client Group member is licensed to enter an eligible Maine Lobster into the Chain of Custody.  This occurs when the Client Group member purchases an eligible Maine Lobster from the fisherman directly.  It must occur at the first point of sale in order to enter the MSC Chain of Custody.  The Client Group member may be a dealer or a processor but if the lobster is not entered into the Chain of Custody at the first purchase then it is no longer eligible to become MSC Certified using the MSC Ecolabel.

Who May Obtain a Chain of Custody License:

Any Maine licensed dealer, processor, distributor, wholesaler, retailer or food service establishment who wishes to purchase an MSC Certified Maine Lobster or Maine Lobster product may do so if they obtain a Chain of Custody license.  However, they must be able to trace the original purchase of the Maine Lobster back to a Client Group member.

Only Maine licensed processors may process MSC Certified Maine Lobster and use the MSC Ecolabel.  All such processing must be done in Maine in a licensed Maine processing facility.

How Do I Obtain a Chain of Custody License:

Chain of Custody audits must be performed by Intertek/Moody Marine Inc.  They are the Fund's third party auditing firm which is permitted to perform audits and issue licenses.  

MSC Maine Lobster for Dealers & Processors

How to Become a Client Group Member

How You Can Buy and Sell MSC Maine Lobster

  • MSC Maine Lobster Chain of Custody begins at the first point of sale.
  • Only product purchased by Client Group members is authorized to enter into the MSC Chain of Custody.
  • Client Group members must receive Chain of Custody Certification from Intertek/Moody Marine.  
  • Anyone taking ownership of MSC Certified Maine Lobster after the first point of sale must also have Chain of Custody certification from Intertek/Moody Marine.

Who Can Apply to Become a Client Group Member:

The Fund welcomes applications from other Maine licensed dealers and processors seeking to share access to the MSC Certificate for Maine Lobster.  The Fund will allow access to those who are accepted as Client Group members of the Fund and remain in good standing.

The Role of the Fund as the Client:

As the holder of the MSC Certificate for the fishery, the Fund is the only entity that has the right to initiate the claim that a landed Maine Lobster is MSC Certified.  The Fund, at its discretion and by means that are considered fair and equitable based on current MSC guidelines, also has the right to manage who else may share in this right.

How Does a Maine Dealer or Processor Become a Client Group Member:

Maine licensed lobster dealers and processors who wish to share in the Certificate must:

- Apply for membership into the Fund's Client Group

- Contractually join the Fund's Client Group

- Sign a Sharing Agreement compliant with current MSC guidelines which shall include, among other terms and conditions, sharing expenses associated with the work efforts, costs and risks in obtaining, advancing, and maintaining the MSC Certification and the goals of the Fund.

These expenses include periodic audits by MSC, marketing, research and recertification costs, administration and education costs; comply with all of the terms and conditions stated in the MSC Certification Report, including but not limited to traceability and supply chain accountability and audits.  

To apply to become a Client Group member, please contact John Hathaway, Chair of the Fund at

The MSC Maine Lobster "Sharing Letter"

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