Russian fisheries certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard may be at lower risk of losing the critical eco-label than first feared because of caveats from a group tasked with overseeing the certifiers auditing the fisheries.

With major retailers in European markets in particular demanding the MSC stamp, the loss of the certificate would have major implications for both buyers and sellers of key whitefish such as pollock and cod.

Earlier this month, Germany-based Assurance Services International (ASI), a group that ensures certification bodies auditing fisheries to the MSC standard are adhering to the MSC guidelines, said it would suspend its activities in Russia for at least six months.