By CommonShare

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1997 to promote sustainable fishing practices and ensure the long-term health of the world's oceans. The MSC's mission is to use its certification program to recognize and reward sustainable fisheries and promote sustainable seafood choices.

The MSC's certification program is based on a set of science-based standards for sustainable fishing, known as the MSC Fisheries Standard. The standard was developed in consultation with scientists, fisheries experts, and stakeholders from around the world. The standard is based on three principles: the sustainability of fish populations, the impact of fishing on the marine ecosystem, and the management of the fishery.

Fisheries that meet the MSC Fisheries Standard can apply for certification. The certification process involves an independent assessment by a third-party certification body. If the fishery meets the standards, it can use the MSC's blue eco-label on its products, indicating to consumers that the fishery is environmentally sustainable and well-managed.

The MSC's certification program provides benefits for both fisheries and consumers. Certified fisheries can differentiate themselves in the market and access new markets that require sustainable seafood. Consumers can make more informed choices when purchasing seafood and be confident that their choices support sustainable fishing practices.

The MSC has certified over 400 fisheries in more than 35 countries, representing more than 15% of the global wild capture fishery. The organization also works with retailers, restaurants, and other seafood companies to promote sustainable seafood and increase demand for MSC-certified products.

Here are some additional details about the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC):

-Certification Process: The MSC certification process involves a thorough assessment of fisheries against the MSC's rigorous standards for sustainable fishing. This assessment considers factors such as fish stock health, ecosystem impacts, and effective management. If a fishery meets these standards, it can obtain MSC certification.

-Chain of Custody Certification: In addition to fishery certification, the MSC offers a Chain of Custody (CoC) certification. This certification ensures that seafood products carrying the MSC label can be traced back to a certified sustainable fishery. It verifies that the seafood has been handled and processed separately from non-certified seafood throughout the supply chain.

-Stakeholder Engagement: The MSC engages with a wide range of stakeholders, including fisheries, scientists, environmental organizations, seafood companies, and retailers. This collaborative approach helps to incorporate diverse perspectives and promote continuous improvement in fisheries management.

-Market Incentives: The MSC's ecolabeling program provides market incentives for fisheries to adopt sustainable practices. The recognizable MSC label helps consumers make informed choices and supports sustainable fisheries by creating demand for their products. This, in turn, encourages fisheries to maintain or improve their sustainability efforts.

-Global Reach: The MSC operates on a global scale, working with fisheries in various countries and regions. Its certification program covers a wide range of marine species and fishing methods, including wild-caught fish, shellfish, and seaweed.

-Independent and Transparent: The MSC operates independently and transparently. Its certification and assessment processes are conducted by accredited third-party certification bodies, ensuring impartiality and credibility. The MSC also publishes its standards and methodologies, allowing for public scrutiny and feedback.

Through its efforts, the MSC aims to contribute to the health of the world's oceans, protect marine biodiversity, and support the livelihoods of those dependent on sustainable fishing practices.

The MSC is an important organization in the global effort to promote sustainable fishing practices and ensure the long-term health of the world's oceans. Its certification program provides a valuable tool for recognizing and rewarding sustainable fisheries and promoting sustainable seafood choices.

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The certification uses a multi-stakeholder, independent governance model to support the development of the standards related to the certification.

Buy Side Availability

Buy side availability details out how easy it is for consumers to find products and companies exhibiting the standards offered by the certification.

Digital Accessibility

How easy is it for innovative new companies, startups, and local retailers to have the same access and affordable pricing models to use standard information in digital applications.

Supply Side Digitization

Details on the certificate are easily available via technology for inclusion in third party digital applications.


This considers the scale of the certification, and the number of products and companies that currently contribute to the certificate. National and local certification are normalized with countries.
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