Environmental impacts of the MSC program
The Marine Stewardship Council has published the first study to examine fishery performance throughout the entire assessment process: Researching the Environmental Impacts of the MSC Certification Programme.
The research, carried out by expert marine science consultancies MRAG Ltd, Poseidon Ltd and Meridian Prime Ltd is based on eight key outcome performance indicators that the MSC assessment process regularly measures and monitors: stock status, population reference points, stock recovery, retained species, bycatch species, endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species, habitats and ecosystems.
Certified fisheries show improvements that deliver environmental benefits
The study shows that five years post-certification, over 90% of the performance indicators measured were achieving higher scores. The report is the result of two years of research, begun in 2009, which demonstrates the positive global environmental change that MSC has helped to facilitate. This includes:
- Improved management of stocks
- Reduced capture of bycatch species
- Reduced capture of bird bycatch
- Reduced trawl times
- Expansion of environmentally protected areas
- Increased knowledge and certainty about ecosystem impacts amongst fishers
“The presence of a statistically robust link between changes in scores and the underlying resource is a crucial result. It confirms that the standard is linked to key environmental performance metrics and capable of differentiating between fisheries. A transparent measuring system – where changes in scores mean changes in resources – sends a clear assurance to the supply chain that MSC certified fisheries are performing as promised.”
Chris Zimmermann, Chair of the MSC Technical Advisory Board
Download the report and case studies
Download the report 'Environmental benefits resulting from certification against MSC’s Principles & Criteria for Sustainable Fishing' below in full, as well as the executive summary and specific fishery case studies.
Download the executive summary of the report (PDF, 590kb)
Download the full report (PDF, 2.5mb)
Fishery case studies
Read case studies from the fisheries across the globe that were included in this study.
Environmental impacts of the MSC – summary brochure
Highlights of key findings