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A preassessment consists of a gap analysis that identifies any potential challenges for fishery certification. In the case of conducting a preassessment against the Marine Stewardship Councill (MSC) Fishery Certification standard, the preassessment provides a determination of how a fishery performs against that MSC standard. If the preassessment is positive, a fishery may proceed directly to full assessment. Alternatively, a fishery may first address issues that need improvement.

Preassessments against the MSC standard are also conducted in the early stages of a fishery entering a fishery improvement project (FIP) to identify the FIP objectives and the relevant actions that should be included in the FIP’s action plan.