Fishing has an impact on our marine environment, and it's not just fish stocks that are affected. Sensitive habitats, endangered species and the marine food chain need to be maintained to keep the oceans healthy and productive. The impacts are complex, hard to measure and vary from one fishery to the next.
MSC certified fisheries meet robust requirements for fish stocks, ecosystem impacts and effective management. They are also encouraged to develop new ways to conserve the marine environment for future generations.
Sustainable fishing means:
Fishing activity must be at a level which ensures it can continue indefinitely.
Fishing operations must be managed to maintain the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystems they're working in.
To be MSC certified fisheries must comply with relevant laws and have a management system in place that is responsive to changing circumstances.
These are the three principles of the MSC Fisheries Standard. Sustainable fishing also means:
Illegal fishing is a major problem for marine environments, livelihoods and food security. The MSC program helps to combat illegal fishing.
Some of the worst environmental problems are caused by destructive fishing practices. Fishing using poisons or explosives is excluded from the MSC certification program.
Find out about fishing methods and gear types >
Choose MSC certified sustainable seafood by looking for the blue MSC label.