Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
After years of seemingly failed government attempts to halt the world fisheries crisis, in 1996 WWF together with Unilever, one of the world's biggest buyers of frozen fish, successfully established the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to change the way fish are caught, marketed and bought.
Now an independent, non-profit organization, the MSC works with fisheries, retailers, and other stakeholders to identify, certify, and promote responsible, environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable fishing practices around the world.
To fulfill this ambitious task, the MSC developed a standard for assessing and certifying fisheries. This standard - known as the MSC Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing - is the only internationally recognized set of environmental principles to assess whether a fishery is well managed and sustainable. It is based on the best scientific data and the latest knowledge about the marine environment, and was developed in conjunction with relevant stakeholders in a two-year global consultation process.
Only products from fisheries assessed by independent certifiers as meeting the standard are able to use the MSC logo on their products. For the first time, this gives consumers a way to identify - and the choice to purchase - fish and other seafood from well-managed sources.
A good idea is now becoming reality
The MSC is witnessing increasing support from retailers, governments, non-governmental organizations, conservationists and the fishing industry. Over 100 fisheries around the world are now certified, representing over 7% of global wild fisheries production for human consumption.
Over 100 major seafood buyers have pledged to purchase MSC-certified seafood products, including large supermarket chains in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the US.
Today, more than 10,000 MSC-certified fish products on sale in 40 countries - ranging from fresh, frozen, smoked, and canned fish to fish oil dietary supplements.