Fisheries improving

Good management underpins sustainable fishing.

As well as fishing healthy populations, fisheries must show that they are managing their impacts on habitats and other marine species. They must also have a plan in case fish populations decrease, or other relevant ecosystem changes occur. 

While fisheries must be performing at a high level of sustainability to be MSC certified, there is nearly always room for improvement. Many fisheries are required to improve performance in a particular area after they are certified.

Since 2000, 94% of certified fisheries have made at least one improvement to strengthen or further monitor the sustainability of their operations.

A standout area of improvement is the habitat impact of certified fisheries. Out of 185 MSC certified fisheries measured in 2017, 39 have made at least one improvement to habitat management. These improvements include more research and understanding of fishery impacts, fishing gear modifications, and avoiding fishing in certain areas.

117 habitat management improvements


research actions


technical actions


impact assessments


governance actions

Similarly, MSC certified fisheries have made great improvements with regards to unwanted bycatch. Between 2007 and 2013, 60 fisheries had resolved issues with bycatch.

Global Impacts 2017

Our Global Impacts Report showcases the progress and improvements delivered by certified fisheries around the world.

Read the report
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