Overfishing, illegal and destructive fishing

Overfishing. Overfishing occurs when the fishing rate is higher than the rate at which fish reproduce and repopulate or when there are not enough adult fish left to breed and maintain a healthy population.

Illegal fishing.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing takes place when vessels or fishermen operate outside the laws of a fishery or nation. It is often conducted without concern for marine life or the environment. IUU fishing threatens the sustainability of fish populations, ecosystems, and the livelihoods of those who fish legally. The MSC program helps to drive out IUU fishing by disqualifying fisheries if they systematically engage in IUU fishing or where IUU fishing by others is having a negative impact on the sustainability of the overall fishery. 

Destructive fishing.

Destructive fishing comes in many forms and is still practiced in some parts of the world. Cyanide fishing is a method where fishermen use cyanide to stun the fish, making them easier to catch. In other regions, some fishermen use explosives to kill fish so they float to the surface and are easy to collect. In addition to harming fish populations, marine habitats can be negatively impacted by destructive fishing practices. We do not allow the use of these destructive fishing methods in the MSC program.

 

Habitat destruction.

Many forms of illegal and destructive fishing may permanently damage delicate ocean habitats, which can have long-lasting impacts on other marine life and surrounding fishing communities.

 

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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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Close-up of frozen prawn, pollock and lobster products with the blue MSC label

What does the MSC label mean?

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.

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