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Participation in MSC sustainable fishing program helps drive development progress against UN Sustainable Development Goals, says new briefing.

Two men standing on deck of boat, each holding a tuna fish. Blue sky and sea behind.

Businesses and fisheries involved in the MSC program for sustainable fishing are helping deliver dozens of key United Nations targets to end poverty and address urgent challenges for environmental, social and economic development, a new analysis suggests.

The analysis, conducted by the MSC, shows that participation in the program can contribute to five of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 34 of the targets within those goals. The publication comes as global leaders meet at a special summit New York, to assess progress at the half-way point towards the 2030 deadline for the goals.

Sustainable fishing is integral to delivering SDG 14, “Life Below the Water” which includes targets to end overfishing and protect and restore ecosystems. Fisheries engaged in the MSC program must fish within ecologically sustainable limits, as well as take care of the wider marine environment.

Previous analysis by the MSC found that ending overfishing could provide enough protein for 72 million additional people a year, contributing to the delivery of SDG2 on zero hunger. According to the World Bank, ending overfishing could help deliver US$80 billion in economic benefits a year, supporting SDG8 on economic development.

But no country is close to achieving SDG14 and it remains significantly underfunded.

Rupert Howes, the Chief Executive of MSC says, “We have a route map agreed by 193 nations to fulfil the SDGs by 2030; now is the best chance for humanity to move onto a more sustainable and equitable trajectory. We need to double down and deliver.”

The 17 global goals are monitored through 169 targets.

Analysis shows the MSC program is helping deliver at least 34 targets across five SDGs:

  • SDG 14, Life below water
  • SDG 12 On sustainable consumption
  • SDG 2 Zero hunger
  • SDG 8 Decent work
  • SDG 17 Strengthening global partnerships

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres says: “The SDG Summit in September must be a moment of unity to provide a renewed impetus and accelerated actions for reaching the SDGs.”

Aside from the SDGs, the MSC program is also used as an indicator in the UN’s framework to safeguard ocean biodiversity. This aims to protect and conserve, by 2030, at least 30% of the planet, including a reduction to near-zero of the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance.

Fishing and the Sustainable Development Goals

How the MSC program enables meaningful action and measurement towards delivering the SDGs.

Fishing and the Sustainable Development Goals