Sustainable seafood

WWF promotes economic incentives, trade management measures and consumer initiatives that encourage sustainable fisheries that are transparent and traceable.
 / ©: MSC
MSC logo
© MSC
A major focus of work involves supporting the activities and ongoing efforts of the Marine Stewardship Council – an independent organization that  recognizes sustainable marine fisheries and their products through a certification programme.

This includes:
WWF provides producers of wild-caught seafood with the technical assistance to assess and adjust their operations and policy so that they can strive towards sustainability and, where appropriate, enter a certification programme such as the MSC.
WWF and its partners are working to increase the profile of sustainable seafood products along the entire 'chain of custody' - from the ocean all the way to the consumers' plate.

Our buying habits at the market or restaurant can shape our consumption patterns. By making informed decisions, favouring sustainable seafood or voicing our concerns, the choices we make can have tangible, mulitple impacts on the market. 



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.

New standards
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.

Eco-label
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.

  •  / ©: WWF

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