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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