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.

The 2018 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows fisheries in the developed world are becoming more sustainable. In the developing world, however, it’s a different story. 


The problem

Fisheries in developing countries catch almost three-quarters (73%) of the world’s seafood. This seafood provides a vital source of protein for hundreds of millions of people in these countries. Seafood is also a valuable export. But the number of sustainable fish stocks is decreasing and only around 10% of MSC certified fish comes from developing countries. 

Overfishing, rising seas, pollution, coral bleaching and acidification are all threatening the oceans and the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on them. While there is plenty of research into the impact of these challenges, significant solutions for the most part are still a long way off. But this is not the case with overfishing. We know how to fix it. But as the ocean crisis deepens we need to move faster to ensure that all fishing worldwide becomes sustainable.


Helping more fisheries become sustainable

The MSC cannot solve overfishing alone. We’re collaborating with other NGOs, with governments, retailers and funders, to provide a pathway for fisheries that face obstacles in reaching sustainability.

Beginning with comprehensive analysis of fisheries and their environments, pathway projects will create and help implement action plans in hundreds of fisheries worldwide.

Using tools developed by the MSC’s Global Accessibility team, fisheries will be selected and their performance benchmarked and pre-assessed against the MSC Fisheries Standard.

Many of these fisheries are a long way from reaching MSC certification, but with good long-term collaboration we can make this a realistic goal.


Not just developing world fisheries

Using the same principles, projects have already been undertaken in UK waters and the Mediterranean Sea and more projects will be underway in the future.


Current pathway projects

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 out more
Octopus fisher in the South West Indian Ocean

Southwest Indian Ocean Octopus Project (SWIOCeph)

This project will assist octopus fishing communities in the southwest Indian Ocean regions towards more sustainable practices.

Find out more
Annual report cover spotlight

BluFish Project

A 3 year project supporting fisheries around Southern Italy towards more sustainable fishing practices.

Find out more
Project UK fishing vessel in harbour

Project UK

Project UK supports fisheries across the United Kingdom (UK) working towards an environmentally sustainable future.

Find out more

HellasFish Project

The HellasFish Project will be supporting fisheries on their pathway towards sustainability in the Greek Seas.

Find out more
Project Medfish logo


WWF and the MSC launched Medfish to carry out a comprehensive analysis of French and Spanish Mediterranean fisheries, using the MSC Standard as a benchmark.

Find out more
Man in silhouette sitting in small boat on still sea with sunshine

Making Waves: Small-scale fisheries report

Our Making Waves report provides the first ever review of the collective impact of small-scale fisheries in the MSC program. It shows that not only are real ecological improvements being achieved on the water, but they are often complemented by social and economic benefits on land.

Read the report
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