Learn how the Marine Stewardship Council safeguards seafood supplies for the future

What is the MSC program

The MSC program is a market-led program that rewards and recognises sustainable seafood production throughout the supply chain. It is run by the Marine Stewardship Council, an international non-profit organisation working with scientists and the seafood industry to set a globally recognised benchmark for sustainable fishing. The certification and labelling program meets best practice guidelines set by the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization.

The system has been independently evaluated against ISEAL’s Codes of Good Practice - a globally-recognised framework for effective, credible sustainability systems. Importantly, the MSC certification was recognised at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP-15) as a way to scientifically measure efforts to reverse alarming declines in the world’s biodiversity.

The program is based on two main Standards:

  1. The MSC Fisheries Standard is used to assess if a fishery is well-managed and sustainable according to 3 main Principles: sustainable fish stocks, minimising the environmental impact and effective management.
  2. The MSC Chain of Custody Standard ensures that products coming from a certified fishery and carrying the MSC label, are traceable and separated from non-certified products.

To become certified, fisheries and supply chain businesses are assessed by independent certification bodies.

The benefits of the MSC certification:

-For the fisheries: The MSC Fisheries certification demonstrates that the fishery operates according to the highest Standards of sustainable fishing. It can therefore ensure access to new markets, secure a competitive advantage and benefit from the growing demand for sustainable fish. And even more importantly, it ensures the health of fish populations, contributing to the long-term survival of an essential sector where there is so little generational turnover.

-For the seafood industry: Global demand for sustainable seafood is growing and 72% of seafood consumers agree that in order to save the oceans, shoppers should only consume seafood from sustainable sources The MSC blue label ensures that the fish you offer comes from a sustainable well-managed source.

-For the Planet: More than one-third of the world’s fish stocks are currently being depleted beyond their sustainable limits because we have long treated the ocean as a pit of limitless resources. Overfishing can disrupt the natural balance of the oceans by eliminating essential predator or prey species; this disruption can trigger cascading effects throughout the ecosystem, affecting marine life and potentially creating imbalances within the food web. At the same time, effects of climate change and the unprecedented pressure on the world's food production systems, with the global population set to reach more than 8 billion people by 2030, could lead to even worst scenarios.

The sustainable management of fish stocks can have many positive consequences, starting with the protection of fish stocks, other marine life and the delicate balance of the ocean ecosystem. A recent research also demonstrated that it could ensure 16 million more fish are caught each year and thus provide more of the nutrition needed to feed a growing population.