MSC in the Americas
Last updated: June 2014
The Americas region encompasses Canada, the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Russian Far East, making it the MSC’s largest geographical region. Growth over the past ten years in the major market areas has been strong, and potential for the region remains enormous. Many of the top retail chains in the US and Canada sell MSC certified seafood and have partnered with the MSC Americas teams for effective launch events that garner media coverage. Recently American colleges have embraced sustainability by sourcing MSC certified seafood for dining halls and campus canteens.
In 1999, Alaska salmon was the first fishery to seek MSC certification, and since then the region has experienced exponential growth.
Examined as a whole, the certified fisheries of the Americas region represent the fishing industry’s diversity; from the large flatfish fisheries that ply the Bering Sea, to the pole and line albacore tuna fishers of the Pacific; from the shrimpers and scallopers of eastern Canada, to the lobster trap fishers of Maine.
In the last three years the program has extended into Latin America, with fisheries from Argentina, Mexico and Chile becoming MSC certified.
Retail and brands
By the end of 2011, more than 1,200 MSC labelled seafood products were available in North America covering a wide range of retail market segments including frozen, fresh, canned, pouched, smoked, health supplements, ready meals, and pet foods. This number continues to increase significantly and consumers will find more and more MSC labelled products at major grocery stores and supermarkets across the US and Canada. The MSC ecolabel appears on both nationally-distributed as well as "store name" brands.
Find MSC labelled products available in the USA
Read more about brands committed to MSC labelled sustainable seafood
Foodservice and restaurants
The foodservice sector – restaurants, cafes, hospital kitchens, school cafeterias and other places that prepare and serve meals to people – makes up about 50 per cent of North American seafood sales by value. MSC certified seafood is making its way into this vast supply chain.
In 2013, McDonald's USA become the first national restaurant chain to adopt the MSC ecolabel on fish packaging in restaurants nationwide. As of 2014, McDonald's Canada has offered the same.
Colleges and Universities
There is growing commitment to sustainable seafood on college campuses across North America. Prestigious institutions of higher education like the University of Notre Dame, University of California at Berkeley, and Pomona College have launched sustainability programs that involve sourcing MSC certified seafood in all areas of food service. More recently, McGill University in Quebec became the first Canadian university to join this trend.