It is very exciting that in less than a decade, the MSC has demonstrated the market can create powerful incentives for global sustainable fisheries management.
Dr Cathy Roheim, University of Rhode Island
The MSC gives everyone an opportunity to support sustainable fishing. Since the first fishery was certified as sustainable to the MSC’s standard in 2000, the MSC has already helped to shift the world's seafood markets towards sustainability and protect marine environments worldwide. We want to see a seafood market where less well managed fisheries find it harder to sell their products, and sustainable fisheries are recognised and rewarded. And we are succeeding.
See the MSC solution in action
Discover how it’s worked out for all the fisheries certified in our first 10 years.
Fishers’ stories – Net Benefits 2009
The number of fisheries taking part in the MSC certification program has increased 4 times over since 2004. Every year more fisheries announce that they want to get certified to show they are sustainable and well managed. At the end of 2007, these fisheries were catching more than 4 million tonnes of seafood – approximately 7 percent of the world’s edible marine fish catch. Certified fisheries are reporting benefits such as better prices, access to new markets and increased demand from suppliers.
MSC fisheries: February 2011
In full assessment: 142
In pre-assessment: 40 - 50*
* Pre-assessment reports are confidential. This estimate is based on fisheries that have informed us they intend to be assessed against the MSC standard
Endangered species, fish stocks and marine habitats are being closely monitored, and controls are in place to minimise the impacts of fishing in certified fisheries. Fisheries entering the program are making improvements so that they meet the MSC standard and after certification many implement new Action Plans to support further improvement where it's needed. Some of their actions include:
- Reducing the number of fishing hooks discarded, leading to fewer hooks being found in seabird nests - South Georgia Patagonian toothfish longline fishery
- Diversion of fishing effort away from fishing grounds to avoid the catch of juvenile fish and halt a declining stock trajectory – New Zealand hoki fishery
- Underwater video surveillance of langoustine pots to check that young langoustine escape uncaught - Loch Torridon nephrops creel fishery
- Reduction in fishery related litter discarded at sea – Western Australia rock lobster fishery
- Bycatch limits and area closures introduced to reduce bycatch and improve stock status – South African hake trawl fishery
We have also begun a long term project to measure the environmental benefits of the MSC programme. Find out more about our Environmental Benefits project.
In 2007/08 more than 600 retailers, restaurants and processors were trading MSC-labelled fish with a global retail value of close to US$1 billion. Some of the world’s biggest supermarket and foodservice buyers have made commitments to source seafood from MSC certified sustainable fisheries. Independent fishmongers and restaurants are also using the MSC ecolabel to show that they sell sustainable fish.
- More than 8,000 MSC-labelled seafood products are available . Consumers are looking for – and asking for – the MSC ecolabel in their local shops and restaurants.
- In Europe, major brands such as Iglo, Findus, Birds Eye and Youngs and retailers like Lidl, METRO, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Migros and Co-Op are offering a wide choice of MSC products.
- In North America national chains such as Whole Foods Market and Walmart are introducing the MSC ecolabel to their customers.