Marine Stewardship Council is an independent non-profit organization that contributes to the health of the world’s oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practice through a certification and ecolabelling programme.
Focus: Oceans, Environment, Conservation
Geographic Area of Impact: Global
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 208 certified fisheries and 98 in assessment representing almost 8% of the global wild-capture (2013)
Annual Budget: USD $ 19 million (2013)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 56% (2013)
Overfishing, with its associated environmental and social impacts, is the biggest single sustainability challenge the world faces after climate change. Overfishing is threatening marine ecosystems around the world and in some areas marine habitats are under threat of irreversible destruction. Alongside this, there are more than 200 million people that directly depend on wild harvest fishing for their livelihood and for around one billion people seafood is their primary source of protein. Securing seafood resources is therefore essential to the health and well-being of much of the world, and with a growing human population, these resources are likely to be put under even more intensive pressure. A ‘business as usual’ to fisheries management is clearly no longer an option. The global seafood industry has to be shifted onto a sustainable trajectory to ensure that the productivity and integrity of our oceans and marine resources are protected for
this and future generations.
Innovation and Activities
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.
It operates a certification and eco-label program 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.
The MSC is witnessing increasing support from retailers, governments, non-governmental organizations, conservationists, and the fishing industry. Over 200 fisheries around the world are now certified representing over 8% of global wild capture harvest. 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, over 20,000 seafood products bearing the MSC ecolabel (ranging from fresh, frozen, smoked, and canned fish to fish oil dietary supplements) are on sale in 106 countries, and can be traced back to the certified sustainable fisheries.
The MSC Developing World Program ensures that fisheries, regardless of size, scale or region,
have access to its sustainable seafood certification through Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP). MSC also help fisheries in need to secure grants through regional Investment Funds to finance their certification process.
Rupert Howes has been Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council since October 2004. A lifelong committed environmentalist and a professionally qualified accountant, Rupert came to the MSC from the influential UK organization Forum for the Future as Director of the Sustainable Economy Programme. He has received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2007.
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