Sustainable Markets

 / ©: Christine Waitkus
Processed NA cod
© Christine Waitkus
WWF is urging the fishing industry to adopt, implement and promote the procurement of sustainable seafood throughout the whole fish supply chain.
All over the world, the demand for seafood is rising at a fast pace.

This spurs fishermen, processors, suppliers and retailers to meet market demand and puts enormous pressure on the highly endangered and sometimes already collapsed marine ecosystems and fish populations.  

Although aquaculture can help to meet market demand, this type of fishing has its own challenges to tackle. 

Mobilize key market players

Fish traders, processors, retailers, customers and also consumers can stimulate more transparency in fisheries through their purchasing decisions – by selectively buying seafood products from fisheries with low or no bycatch, and that have been certified according to the standards of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), that rewards sustainable fishing practices. 

WWF believes that forging partnerships with pro-active, leading companies in the private sector is a critical element to achieving the long-term viability of the seafood supply chain. It will not only help to eradicate illegally caught fish from the market but also increase the value of a company and ensure the long-term availability of fish products. 

We collaborate with partners in more than 40 countries to push market demand for sustainable seafood and aid seafood producers to strive towards sustainable fishing and responsible procurement practices. As such, WWF helps to assess company supply chains and, where appropriate, achieving credible certification such as that of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a system for recognizing sustainably caught seafood.  Customers who see the MSC label can be certain that they are buying from a retailer that is taking active steps towards sustainable wild-caught fish production and consumption.

Examples of some companies WWF is working with include Wal-Mart, Sodexo, Sainsbury´s and Carrefour.  Other private sector fisheries partners are the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) or  the Common Fisheries Reform Alliance (NGOs and European seafood processors, retailers, consumer co-operatives and chefs) working together to ask for solutions to the crisis of overfishing in Europe.

 / ©: Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
MSC certified fish products
© Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
 / ©: WWF
- January 2011, London: UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon meets an alliance representing the entire UK fish supply chain and WWF. Benyon publically states his support for ambitious reform of the CFP.

Traceable, sustainable seafood procurement

 / ©: Michael Cockerham/MSC
MSC-certified mackerel for sale on the fish counter of a UK supermarket
© Michael Cockerham/MSC

The easiest way to identify the best environmental seafood choice on the market is to look out for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label.

Fish products with this label have been independently assessed according to the MSC standards, currently the best available certification system for fisheries and fish products on the market that sets environmental principles to assess whether a fishery is well-managed and sustainable.

The MSC has witnessed support including from retailers, governments, non-governmental organizations, conservationists and the fishing industry. Over 130 fisheries around the world are certified today, representing over 10% of global annual wild fisheries harvest.  

Find our more about WWF´s involvement in the MSC programme.

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