MSC reports significant commitments to fisheries’ sustainability in Latin America and Indonesia, supported by strong market growth in Southern Europe, North American and Japan
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has today set out its new strategy to support the growth of sustainable seafood.
Speaking at the MSC’s Seafood Futures Forum, Chief Executive, Rupert Howes, said that the not-for-profit standard setter would continue to maintain world-leading Standards for sustainable fishing while expanding market opportunities that incentivise more sustainable fishing globally. This strategy will see an increased focus on research and advocacy efforts which support MSC certified fisheries and those on their journey to sustainability. To help fisheries fund the improvements needed, the MSC is expanding its Ocean Stewardship Fund while also opening up its In-Transition to MSC programme to all fisheries.
“Climate change and overexploitation present an existential threat to our oceans and seafood supplies,” said Howes. “The last year has seen breakthroughs in a number of international agreements, including on ocean biodiversity which, if implemented, could help safeguard our shared ocean. The MSC will support governments, industry, fishers, scientists and conservationists to build on this momentum and turn pledges into tangible progress.”
During the event, Professor Manuel Barange, Director for Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) set out the importance of food from oceans, rivers and lakes in delivering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in line with the its Blue Transformation agenda. “There is now wide acceptance across governments that aquatic foods will play a fundamental role in feeding a growing population while reducing carbon emissions and pressure on land-based sources of food – but only if it is produced in a sustainable way,” said Barange. “Emerging policies, investment and support for aquatic foods offer new opportunities for seafood businesses to transform the way they operate.”
At the event, MSC’s Chief Programme Officer, Nicolas Guichoux set out the recent trends and developments within fisheries and markets for sustainable seafood. At the end of March 2023, 19% of the global seafood catch was either certified or in assessment to the MSC Standard with 42 new fisheries achieving MSC certification in the past year, representing 15 different species. Tuna and pollock remain the dominant certified species. In addition, fisheries in Latin America and Indonesia have seen significant improvement. Tunacons in Ecuador, for example, achieved MSC certification for the first time in 2022 following a 5 year fisheries improvement project.
The value of MSC labelled sales continues to increase (up 9% from 1 April 2022). There has been significant growth in sustainable seafood sales in Southern Europe, North America and Japan as a result of increased commitments by important companies such as Lidl, Findus, Bolton and Walmart.
“Increasing consumer awareness of the impact that food has on the planet is influencing retailers’ sourcing policies and therefore the way the ocean is fished,” said Guichoux. To support this transformation, in June, the MSC will launch a new campaign “It all starts here” for World Ocean Day 2023 and 2024. It is encouraging the seafood community and consumers alike to join the campaign to support a healthy, thriving ocean..
Seafood Futures Forum is the MSC’s annual event at Seafood Expo Global. This year’s event was attended by more than 300 stakeholders from across the seafood community.
A full recording of Seafood Futures Forum 2023 and PDF of all presentations are available on msc.org/sff.
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