Fish swim around and need time to grow and re-produce. Sustainable fishing allows this to happen while protecting habitats and threatened species.
What is sustainable fishing?Sustainable fishing means fishing in a responsible way that prevents overfishing, minimises bycatch and maintains marine biodiversity.
How is sustainable fishing determined?
When fisheries are independently assessed to the MSC Fisheries Standard, three main principles are considered:
Why is sustainable fishing important?
According to the United Nations, a third of fish populations are overfished and 60% are fished to their biological limit. Our ocean is under enormous pressure from climate change, pollution and overfishing, including the problem of bycatch.
Sustainable fishing is one way to solve the problem of overfishing to ensure we have oceans teeming with life. Seafood is a primary source of protein for millions of people and fishing is vital for many livelihoods and communities.
Sustainable fishing is important to:
- Protect ocean biodiversity to ensure a healthy and resilient ocean
- Contribute to global food security
- Prevent protein demand shifting on land and causing further deforestation
- Protect livelihoods and communities that depend on fishing and seafood
What are sustainable fishing practices?
Almost all fishing can be sustainable if well-managed regardless of the fishing method or gear type. Fisheries science and effective fisheries management are important tools to ensure sustainable fishing is occurring.
There are a lot of myths around sustainable fishing practices which oversimplify the problem and stigmatise certain types of fishing. For example, that big boats are bad, that we should only look for pole and line caught fish. These are false and it is important that we look holistically using all available science.
Which fish are most sustainable?
There is no such thing as a sustainable species of fish, only sustainable populations of fish. What is sustainably fished in one part of the ocean, could be overfished in another.
When you see the MSC blue fish tick label on seafood, you can be sure it can be traced back to a certified sustainable fishery.
Find out more in our sustainable seafood guide.
Find out more
The blue fish label is only applied to wild fish or seafood from fisheries certified to the MSC standard, a scientific measure of sustainable fishing.
Our approach means everyone can play a part in that future while enjoying seafood, not avoiding it.