- On 12th October 2016
London, 12 October 2016 – The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) today published its 2015-16 Annual Report, highlighting market engagement and growth in MSC certified fisheries and supply chain. The report, From sustainable fishers to seafood lovers, showcases the organisations and individuals driving change from ocean to plate.
The volume of MSC certified catch has increased by six percent since 2014-15, while the MSC certified supply chain has climbed 16% over the same period. Between April 2015 and March 2016, the number of processors, restaurants and caterers with MSC Chain of Custody grew from 2,879 to 3,334 companies, operating in 37,121 sites across 82 countries. More than 20,000 products now carry the blue MSC label and can be traced back to fisheries that meet the MSC’s world-class standard for sustainable fishing.
“Accelerated growth in the MSC certified supply chain, and more MSC labelled products, demonstrate a growing demand for traceable, sustainable seafood,” says MSC CEO, Rupert Howes. “More retailers and brands are choosing to use the MSC label to communicate their commitment to sustainability. Their leadership is helping to drive a chain reaction, from ocean to plate. From certified ﬁshers to seafood consumers, everyone plays a vital part in ensuring that our oceans are thriving for generations to come.”
Growing supply and demand
The report highlights some of the commitments made by leading retailers and also presents key findings from the MSC’s 2016 consumer study. These show that sustainability is a key driver for seafood purchase, with a growing number of consumers prepared to change their shopping habits to protect the oceans.
“The MSC provides a mechanism that serves to galvanize a diverse community of change-makers which is driving real and lasting impacts on the water. Thanks to our partners whose dedication is contributing to healthy oceans, now and for the future,” adds Mr Howes.
Growing demand is helping to drive change. Of particular note is the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s decision to adopt harvest control rules for skipjack tuna, a groundbreaking moment for tuna fisheries globally. The proposal came from the Maldives – the first country in the region to achieve MSC certification for its pole and line tuna fishery – and it is hoped that this leadership will pave the way for increased collaboration in the management of other tuna stocks
Impact on the water
MSC certified fisheries caught more than 9.3 million metric tonnes of seafood in 2015-16*, representing almost 10% of the total global wild caught seafood by volume.
In 2015-16 38 fisheries achieved certification for the first time. Every newly certified fishery represents hope for the future, but it is recertification that demonstrates long-term progress. South African hake stands out as one of the two largest fisheries recertified in 2015, and one of only 10 fisheries worldwide that has been certified three times, highlighting its continuous responsible management.
All over the world, MSC certified fisheries are delivering measurable, positive impacts in our oceans, from reducing bycatch to advancing scientific understanding of marine environments. MSC data show that over the course of their certification, 94% of certified fisheries are required to make at least one improvement to maintain their certificate.
“Increasing accessibility of the MSC program to developing world and small-scale fisheries is critical to achieving our mission,” says Mr Howes. “The MSC’s Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund, along with new tools and initiatives are aimed at helping more fisheries take their first steps on the road to environmental improvements.”