Sustainable fisheries

Making sure there are enough fish in the sea to maintain healthy populations is critical to the MSC Fisheries Standard. A certified fishery must show it targets fish populations that are healthy and productive. It’s a balancing act between how many fish are caught and how many fish are left to breed for another season.

If fish numbers fall below sustainable limits, a certified fishery will adjust what it catches. If it doesn’t, the MSC certification can be suspended. A suspended fishery won’t be able to sell fish with the MSC blue fish label until it has a management strategy in place to rebuild the population. MSC continually monitors the program to understand the impacts that the standard requirements have on the environment and seafood market.

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What does the MSC label mean? 1. Sustainable fish stocks


MSC tracks and monitors the impact of the combined efforts of certified fisheries and supply chain companies are having on marine ecosystems and the seafood market. Each year, we publish our findings in our Global Impacts Report.

Global Impacts 2017

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

Read the report

More on how the MSC is driving change

Underwater detailed shot of fish schooling

What is sustainable fishing?

Sustainable fishing means leaving enough fish in the ocean, respecting habitats and ensuring people who depend on fishing can maintain their livelihoods.

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High angle shot of South African hake fisherman preparing equipment on fishing vessel

Fisheries improving

As well as fishing healthy populations, fisheries must show they are containing their impacts on habitats and other marine species.

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