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Global Impacts: a summary

MSC GlobaI Impacts Summary Report 2015 front cover Download the Global Impacts Summary report 2015 >

The objective of the MSC Global Impacts Report is to gain a clear understanding of the environmental and organisational impacts of the MSC’s certification and ecolabelling program.

The 2015 report is the third formal, quantitative evaluation of the MSC program's performance. It includes updates on 22 monitoring and evaluation indicators, which show how the MSC's objectives are being achieved. It includes data from 1999 up to 31 December 2014.

Continued improvements

The first Global Impacts Report (2013) demonstrated that almost all fisheries in the MSC program make significant improvements to their operations and the 2015 edition shows that this trend is continuing.

Key findings

  • Program update: In 2014, the number of fisheries which met the MSC Standard was 231 with 88 more in assessment. The number of Chain of Custody certificates has increased from 2543 in 2013 to 2791 in 2014.
  • Geographic growth: The global reach of the MSC program continues to grow. MSC certified fisheries are now based in 35 countries; Chain of Custody certificates are now held by companies in 72 countries; and MSC ecolabelled products are now available in 97 countries.
  • Program accessibility: Nineteen fisheries have now met MSC certification in developing countries and 12 are in assessment. The MSC continues to promote its Benchmarking and Monitoring Tool (BMT) to help small scale and developing world fisheries meet the MSC Standard. 
  • Continual improvements: MSC certified fisheries are continuing to make significant improvements to their operations. Since 2000, 615 action plans for improvements have been completed by MSC certified fisheries, with a total of 1100 expected by 2020.
  • Consumer demand: Seafood consumers are increasingly able and willing to play their part in helping to safeguard fish resources for this and future generations. In 2014, approximately 40% of seafood consumers surveyed had purchased MSC products at least once or twice before, an increase of 11% since 2010. 
  • Global best practice: The proportion of fisheries in the MSC program that have stock status management at or above best practice has increased from 80% in 2009 to 95% in 2014. The remainder are certified as not adversely impacting stock biomass and are subject to time-bound improvement plans to attain best practice.

David Agnew "Our first report, published in 2013, demonstrated that almost all fisheries in the MSC program make significant improvements to their operations. Improvements are seen in target stock sustainability and management, as well as the impact of fisheries on non-target species and habitats. In total 231 fisheries, representing 10% of global wild capture, are currently certified. These fisheries are amongst the leaders in supplying sustainable seafood to consumers. The MSC provides a pathway to seafood sustainability, but does not implement the changes. Sustainability is delivered by the fishery with support from supply chains, retailers, environmental NGOs, funders, and governments."

Dr David Agnew, Standards Director

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