MSC celebrates 10 years of partnership and progress
Feb 03, 2009
This year, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) celebrates 10 years of operations. A decade ago, the first fisheries entered MSC assessment. Under the title: “Celebrating 10 years of partnership and progress”, the MSC is planning activities throughout the year and across the globe to highlight the ethical leadership demonstrated by the seafood industry and the accelerating transformation of the seafood market towards a sustainable basis.
What the MSC says
Will Martin, Chairman of the MSC Board of Trustees says: “Over the last 10 years the market for sustainable seafood and the MSC have both changed and evolved tremendously. The MSC and the seafood industry have come a long way together and we are proud of the progress that has been made. Fisheries entering the programme have quadrupled over the past three years and sales and numbers of MSC labelled products have matched that with exponential growth. It is testament to the industry’s commitment to sustainability that the MSC programme has gained enormous momentum and shows no signs of this slowing down. We see this 10th anniversary as a great time to take stock and look forward to the next 10 years, which will be critical for the MSC and for the future of the oceans.”
The number of fisheries involved in the MSC programme has risen from just three in 1999 to over 140 in 2009. Over the same period certificate holders of the MSC’s Chain of Custody, which ensures traceability of MSC certified seafood from boat to plate, have grown to around 830. As a result there are now over 2,000 MSC eco-labelled product lines on sale in 42 countries around the world with estimated annual sales of over US $1 billion.
Since the very beginning, stakeholder consultation has been a key element of the MSC programme. Leading scientific, industry and NGO partners are represented in the MSC governance bodies and provide their perspective to policy development and strategic debates. MSC is continuously developing its programme with a strong focus on improving the quality and consistency of MSC fishery assessments.
Fisheries Assessment Methodology
Recent improvements include the release of the new Fisheries Assessment Methodology (FAM) which pre-defines the scoring indicators used to assess each fishery. The new methodology should lead to faster assessments whilst maintaining the rigour and thoroughness of the independent scientific assessment process. MSC is also working hard to develop and introduce additional measures to improve the robustness of the supply chain. In addition to the requirement for independent traceability audits throughout the supply chain new measures such as DNA testing of certified fish and random product tracebacks are now being conducted.
Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the MSC says: “With the help of our partners MSC has managed to turn our founders’ ambitious and bold idea into a reality. Ten years on the MSC is now perhaps the world’s most widely recognised and trusted eco-label for wild caught sustainable seafood. Crucially, there is both a growing ecological and business case – MSC is making a difference. We must now continue to work together and to learn from our first ten years of operation to further improve the programme.”
Rupert Howes continues: “The achievements of the last 10 years would not have been possible without the network of supporters that has formed around the MSC. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all partners around the world: all the fishers, seafood industry, retailers, foodservice and non-government organisations involved in the MSC programme. Last, but by no means least, I would like to express my gratitude to all of the foundations, organisations and individuals who share our vision of healthy and productive seas and have funded our activities over our first ten years.”
MSC 10 year anniversary activities
Planned MSC 10 year anniversary activities include:
• A publication introducing every fishery certified to the MSC standard from 1999 to 2009,
• MSC presence at the Seafood Choices Alliance Summit in San Diego (1.2.-4.2.2009)
• Side-event at FAO – COFI meeting (2.3. – 6.3.2009)
• MSC update at International Boston Seafood Show (15.3. – 17.3.2009)
• Sustainable Seafood Day Australia (20.3.2009)
• MSC press event at the Brussels seafood show (28.4.2009)
• MSC presence at Tokyo Seafood Show (22.7.– 24.7.2009)
In total, more than 140 fisheries are engaged in the MSC program with 39 certified, 88 under assessment and another 20 to 30 in confidential pre-assessment. Together, the fisheries record annual catches of more than 5 million tons of seafood. Of fish for human consumption, they represent more than 42 percent of the world’s wild salmon catch, 40 percent of the world’s prime whitefish catch and 18 percent of the world’s lobster catch.
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