Ocean Stewardship Fund

A total of £650,000 has been awarded to 20 projects and fisheries through the Ocean Stewardship Fund in 2021. Projects focus on improving at-sea observer safety, reducing unwanted bycatch and improving fisheries’ harvest strategies and the sustainability of bait fishing.

The Ocean Stewardship Fund aims to increase the number of sustainable fisheries worldwide. We are accelerating progress by funding innovative research and supporting fisheries at all stages on the path to sustainability.

The number of MSC certified fisheries has grown rapidly since we were founded in 1997. More consumers than ever are making sustainable choices and looking for the blue MSC label.

To continue this trend toward more sustainable fisheries and seafood, we have committed 5% of all royalties from MSC certified product sales to the Ocean Stewardship Fund.

Each year, over £1 million in grants are available for fisheries at all stages on their path to sustainability. 

We support: 

  • Fisheries starting on the pathway to sustainability
  • Research that helps MSC certified fisheries maintain best practice
  • MSC certified fisheries with longstanding commitments to sustainability

Further details of each strand of funding follow below. 

Supporting fisheries transitioning toward sustainability

Achieving MSC certification can require fisheries to make wide-ranging changes to their work. Small-scale fisheries and those in the Global South can find those requirements daunting. Our Pathway to sustainability supports such fisheries on their journey towards sustainability assessment. 

Our Transition Assistance Fund helps fisheries that are making good progress. Funds can be used to support the cost of improvements that are necessary for the fishery to become sustainable.

The fund is open to any small-scale and Global South fisheries commited to MSC certification as verified through our In-Transition to MSC (ITM) program.


Supporting fisheries to achieve best practice

Fisheries that achieve MSC certification must perform at a high level, but most assessments identify room for improvement. To achieve best practice in every aspect of their work, fisheries are set ‘conditions’ ahead of their next assessment.

In order to meet such conditions, scientific research is often needed. Our Science and Research Fund supports projects that benefit one or more MSC certified fisheries to meet conditions and achieve best practice. The two priorities in 2021 are fisheries’ harvest strategies to ensure effective stock management, and research focused on improvements in bait fisheries.


Supporting fisheries' long term commitments to sustainability

Maintaining MSC certification requires significant commitment from fisheries. Sustainability best practice evolves and fisheries must work to keep up with change.

The future of our oceans depends on certified fisheries maintaining their status, and encouraging others to achieve the same standard. Our Recertification Assistance Fund supports fisheries that have maintained MSC certification for at least 10 years by contributing to the cost of recertification.

Supporting postgraduate student research to improve fisheries

The MSC Student Research Grant supports postgraduate students who carry out research with fisheries engaged or working towards the MSC Standard.


Supporting innovations in the industry

The Innovation Fund supports research that is a strategic priority for the MSC.

This year we are looking for innovative research that has the potential to make a practical difference for the safety of observers at-sea. We expect research to be able to deliver real change and not just report on the problem.


Projects driving impact in our oceans

Over £1.3 million has been awarded to 35 fisheries and projects around the world through the Ocean Stewardship Fund.

In 2020, research funding was prioritised for projects that would help minimise the impacts of fishing on endangered species and tackling abandoned fishing gear or 'ghost gear'.

Before the Ocean Stewardship Fund was launched in 2020, support for fisheries was given through the Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund and Student Scholarship Program (now Student Research Grants). These funded projects around the world, from tackling illegal fishing to improving the sustainability of stocks. 

Apply to the Ocean Stewardship Fund

Learn more about funding for fishery clients and researchers

Apply for funding

Find out more

Data-limited fisheries spotlight FINAL- for CMS

Pathway to sustainability

The MSC is working with NGOs, governments, retailers and funders around the world to create a pathway to sustainability for small-scale fisheries and fisheries in developing countries.

Learn more
A flock of seagulls flying over the ocean and in front of a fishing vessel (far right)

Our collective impact

For over 20 years fisheries, scientists, consumers and industry have been part of a collective effort to make sure our oceans are fished sustainably.

Find out more
Fisherman gathering nets among colourful boats

Fish for Good

Fish for Good is a four-year project aiming to guide fisheries in Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa on their journey towards sustainability.

Find our more
Fisher diving underwater with fins and a snorkel looking at a coral reef. Small fish swim around the coral reef.

Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund

The Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund (GFSF) supported small-scale and fisheries in the Global South, awarding £400,000 to eleven projects around the world.

See GFSF projects
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