Leading seafood businesses involved in the production and trade of wild-caught fish and seafood are increasingly participating in voluntary certification schemes such as the Marine Stewardship Certification (MSC) programme
, which sets standards, against which fisheries can become certified, if an independent auditor finds them to be compliant.
The standards aim to improve fishing practices whilst reducing their ecological and social impacts. Both industrial and small-scale fisheries, can benefit from better market access if they are MSC certified.
WWF participated in the latest review of the MSC standard to ensure it would meet WWF´s sustainability criteria. The new standard strengthens provisions requiring that the fish stock is maintained in healthy condition and introduces new safeguards for sensitive and vulnerable marine and coastal habitats, such as coral gardens, sponge grounds, seagrass beds, biogenic-reefs or sea mounts. Assessments will require more and better quality information on the impacts of fishing on habitats which will feed into fishery management conditions.