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The MSC is working with NGOs, governments, retailers and funders around the world to create a pathway to sustainability for small-scale fisheries and fisheries in developing countries.

The 2018 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows fisheries in the developed world are becoming more sustainable. In the developing world, however, it’s a different story. 

The problem

Fisheries in developing countries catch almost three-quarters (73%) of the world’s seafood. This seafood provides a vital source of protein for hundreds of millions of people in these countries. Seafood is also a valuable export. But the number of sustainable fish stocks is decreasing and only around 10% of MSC certified fish comes from developing countries. 

Overfishing, rising seas, pollution, coral bleaching and acidification are all threatening the oceans and the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on them. While there is plenty of research into the impact of these challenges, significant solutions, for the most part, are still a long way off. But this is not the case with overfishing. We know how to fix it. But as the ocean crisis deepens we need to move faster to ensure that all fishing worldwide becomes sustainable.

Helping more fisheries become sustainable

The MSC cannot solve overfishing alone. We’re collaborating with other NGOs, with governments, retailers and funders, to provide a pathway for fisheries that face obstacles in reaching sustainability.

Beginning with a comprehensive analysis of fisheries and their environments, pathway projects will create and help implement action plans in hundreds of fisheries worldwide.

Using tools developed by the MSC’s Global Accessibility team, fisheries will be selected and their performance benchmarked and pre-assessed against the MSC Fisheries Standard.

Many of these fisheries are a long way from reaching MSC certification, but with good long-term collaboration, we can make this a realistic goal.

Not just developing world fisheries

Using the same principles, projects have already been undertaken in UK waters and the Mediterranean Sea and more projects will be underway in the future.