Fisheries don’t stop improving once they become MSC certified. They make a long-term commitment to sustainability and to keep up with global best practice.
To be certified as sustainable, fisheries must score an average of at least 80 out of 100 for each of the MSC Fisheries Standard’s three principles: sustainable stocks, environmental impacts and effective management.
Fisheries improve significantly as they stay in the program.
The graph below shows the distribution of scores from all currently certified fisheries that have completed at least two full assessments against the MSC Fisheries Standard – typically this reflects changes over five years. For all three principles there is a statistically significant improvement between the average (median) score when they join the program and at the end of the first certification period.
How does the MSC drive sustainability?
Each principle of the Fisheries Standard is made up of 28 indicators. If a certified fishery scores less than 80/100 on an individual indicator, it will be set a ‘condition of certification’ by the independent assessor. The fishery must then implement a plan of action to make improvements that will bring it up to global best practice. If conditions are not met within the certification period (usually 5 years), the fishery is suspended from the MSC program.
Over 95% of certified fisheries have successfully completed at least one condition. Conditions drive continual improvement towards global best practice in fisheries sustainability.
What improvements have been made?
Completing one condition can lead to a wide range of improvements. By March2021, MSC certified fisheries had recorded over 1,950 different improvements.
Sometimes, one action produces multiple improvements. For example, modifying gear types could reduce bycatch of a range of species.
In the last three years, MSC certified fisheries have made 372 improvements, including:
|134 improvements benefiting endangered, threatened and protected species and bycatch|
|101 improvements benefiting stock status and harvest strategies|
|71 improvements benefiting fishery management, governance and policy|
|66 improvements benefiting ecosystems and habitats|
How the island nation of Fiji is leading the way in reducing accidental catch in longline tuna fisheries.
The Oregon and Washington pink shrimp fishery off the west coast of the USA is working to protect a lesser-known fish.
A Chilean squat lobster fishery has been working with researchers to map its fishing grounds and better understand its impacts on deep sea habitats and ecosystems.
For 20 over years fisheries, scientists, consumers and industry have been part of a collective effort to make sure our oceans are fished sustainably.
The MSC monitoring and evaluation program works to understand the environmental and social impacts of the MSC.