What is sustainable fishing?

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organisation. We recognise and reward efforts to protect oceans and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.

Measuring

The sustainability of a fishery can be assessed regardless of its size, geography or the fishing method used. Our Fisheries Standard (click here) is a science-based way to measure that sustainability. When fisheries are independently assessed to the standard, three main principles are considered: 

 

Principles

  1. Sustainable fish stocks

    Are enough fish left in the ocean? Fishing must be at a level that ensures it can continue indefinitely and the fish population can remain productive and healthy.

  2. Minimising environmental impact

    What are the impacts? Fishing activity must be managed carefully so that other species and habitats within the ecosystem remain healthy.

  3. Effective fisheries management

    Are operations well managed? MSC certified fisheries must comply with relevant laws and be able to adapt to changing environmental circumstances.

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The three principles of the MSC Fisheries Standard

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Close-up of frozen prawn, pollock and lobster products with the blue MSC label

What does the blue MSC label mean?

The blue fish label is only applied to wild fish or seafood from fisheries certified to the MSC standard, a scientific measure of sustainable fishing.

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Full shot of fishermen repairing hanging nets with their backs to the camera

Our approach

Our approach means everyone can play a part in that future while enjoying seafood, not avoiding it.

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Low-angle shot of three men (left, right and centre) bent forwards fixing a net

Fisheries improving

As well as fishing healthy populations, fisheries must show they are managing their impacts on habitats and other marine species.

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