Developing World and small-scale fisheries

The MSC is committed to providing equal access for all fisheries seeking MSC certification.

We provide additional tools and guidance for small small-scale and data-deficient fisheries to help them demonstrate that they meet the MSC Fisheries Standard and get certified.

What is a small-scale fishery?

There's not a widely accepted definition of what a small-scale fishery. At the MSC, we currently define a small-scale fishery as having met at least two of the four criteria:

1. Vessel size

Vessels less than or equal to 12 metres. 

2. Gear type

Gear types such as barriers, weirs, traps, pots, spears, harpoons, gillnet/dipnets, small beach seines, handline and simple hook and line.

3. Tonnage

Fisheries with a tonnage less than 1,800.

4. Fishing grounds

If the fishery operates within 12 nautical miles from shore.

In 2014, fishery exports from developing countries were valued at US$80 billion, higher than all other food commodities combined. Certification under the MSC program will make sure these fisheries are operating sustainably and can contribute to long-term social, environmental and economic benefits in their communities.

Yemi Oloruntuyi, Developing World Program Manager MSC

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FIPs spotlight option 1

Fishery Improvement Projects

The MSC recognises the important contribution that FIPs can make to improving overall fisheries health and in promoting sustainable seafood. We work to provide technical support and capacity to credible FIPs.

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Fishermen landing skipjack tuna in small boat, Lakshadweep, India

Our Capacity Building Program

Supports fisheries improving towards MSC certification through building the capacity of stakeholders and fisheries scientists in developing countries.

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Fishery certification guide spotlight OPTION 2

Fishery certification guide

What you need to know to get certified. We are here to help you before, during, and after the process.

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Our Developing World Program spotlight 1

Our Global Accessibility Program

Our Global Accessibility Program aims to ensure the MSC program and its benefits are accessible to all fisheries, regardless of size or region.

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