The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has today announced that its Ocean Stewardship Fund which supports sustainable fishing globally, is more than halfway to its goal of mobilising US$10 million.
The MSC, the not for profit responsible for the world’s leading programme for sustainable seafood certification and the blue fish tick label, launched its Ocean Stewardship Fund in 2018. The Fund is a special funding vehicle which to date has been primarily supported by the MSC’s allocation of 5% of annual royalties received from sales of seafood with the MSC blue label.
In 2021-22, with support from the environmental investment company, Clarmondial, the MSC sought to more than double the funds available for the Ocean Stewardship Fund through third-party funding.
Third-party funders supporting the Ocean Stewardship Fund include the MAVA Fondation Pour La Nature which has given US$791,000 for projects in West Africa and the Mediterranean, the Walton Family Foundation which has contributed a US$1 million grant to establish a Loan Guarantee Facility for fisheries certified or working towards the MSC’s global standard for sustainable fishing, and $US1.05 million unrestricted funding from the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.
The MSC also received US$100,000 from the Global Environment Facility, via the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) which will boost US$243,000 already awarded by the Ocean Stewardship Fund for a project on climate change.
In 2022 the Ocean Stewardship Fund awarded US$854,000 towards projects including research which focuses on helping to safeguard marine biodiversity. At least half of the grants will support fisheries in developing economies, such as Indonesia, Mexico and India. The Fund has awarded around US$4.4 million in total grants.
This month, the Ocean Stewardship Fund also allocated funds for a new project to support Portuguese fisheries – 90% of which are small-scale - to improve their sustainability practises.
The MSC is calling on funders that want to secure the future of a thriving and healthy ocean, while also safeguarding seafood supplies and livelihoods, to help reach the milestone of US$10 million.
Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council, said: “The Ocean Stewardship Fund is helping to accelerate vital progress in understanding of and commitments to sustainable fishing. Grants awarded so far range from research into new technologies that reduce the impacts of fishing on wildlife, through to projects to rebuild fish stocks, to community programmes to assess and identify opportunities for improvement. We are extremely grateful for the generous contributions made by the MAVA Foundation, Walton Family Foundation and Hans Wilsdorf Foundation who share our vision of healthy oceans teaming with life and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. By scaling up the Ocean Stewardship Fund we hope to accelerate progress in sustainable fishing, supporting greater collaboration and understanding between the fishing industry, governments, scientists and conservationists, for the benefit of us all."