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We are profoundly shocked and deeply concerned by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing and worsening plight and suffering of the Ukrainian people caught up in this senseless war. Since the invasion began the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), along with our partners in the seafood supply chain, have been grappling with what these tragic events mean for our work on sustainable fishing in Russia and how best we can respond. 

The MSC's mission is to end overfishing and this is a global endeavour, reliant on international cooperation - involving fishers, businesses, NGOs and governments. Conflict threatens this progress, with the future of our oceans and sustainable seafood supplies at stake.  

The nature of our third-party certification programme ensures that MSC cannot influence the outcome of the independent scientific assessment of fisheries nor intervene to withdraw or suspend fishery certificates.  

Irrespective of this, it appears likely that the impact of economic sanctions imposed on the Russian economy, and the likelihood of further and more extensive sanctions being implemented, could lead to the loss of MSC Certification for Russian fisheries as independent certification bodies are prevented from engaging in required auditing, assurance and surveillance activities. As the hostilities continue, a growing number of retailers and supply chain companies have also announced that they will reduce or no longer source seafood from Russia.  

We offer our ongoing support to any fishers and supply chain partners with queries about the latest situation. Our thoughts are with the innocent victims of this conflict; we join others around the world in calling for a complete end to the violence in Ukraine.

Rupert Howes 

Chief Executive, Marine Stewardship Council