Improved Standards for Sustainable Fishing Certification Launched

Written by on October 15, 2014 in Fish, Other News, Policy & Ocean Law

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) recently launched updated standards for sustainable fishing.

MSC certified herring. Photo credit: <a href="">Marine Stewardship Council</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>.

MSC certified herring. Photo credit: Marine Stewardship Council via photopin cc.

Developed over the last two years with the help of NGOs, fishing industry experts, and scientists, MSC’s Fisheries Certification Requirements Version 2.0 “reflects the most up-to-date understanding of fishery science and management.”

“The MSC standard for sustainable fishing was created to ensure the long term sustainability of fish stocks and marine environments impacted by fishing, to the long-term benefit of fishers and our oceans,” MSC Standards Director Dr. David Agnew explained in a news release. “As new research shapes and improves our understanding of marine life and fisheries science, it is crucial that the standard remains scientifically robust, effective and relevant.”

The new standards highlight important issues such as reducing bycatch, protecting vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs), and ensuring that shark finning is not occurring in any MSC fisheries. The new standard also states that any company that has been “successfully prosecuted for forced labor violations shall be ineligible for MSC certification.” Take a look at the 10 key updates here.

MSC has been criticized in the past by groups who claim it certifies some fisheries “despite evidence that the target fish are in trouble, or that the fishing industry is harming the environment.” However, the new standard is fully supported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), one the the largest independent conservation organizations in the world. In fact, WWF considers MSC to be the only credible standard for sustainably caught seafood.

“The review of the MSC Standard was a huge opportunity to bring the certification criteria up to date with recent science and international best practice,” Alfred Schumm, WWF’s Smart Fishing Initiative Leader said in a news release. “We believe that this standard will become a great incentive for best fisheries practice and considerably reduce the negative impact of fisheries on the marine environment and species.”

Fisheries that are already certified as sustainable by MSC will have to apply the updated standards by their first re-assessment after October 1, 2017. Any new fishery entering MSC assessment after April 1, 2015 will use the updated standard.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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