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Accelerating growth in sustainable seafood supply chain

Staff Writer |
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) published its 2015-16 Annual Report, highlighting market engagement and growth in MSC certified fisheries and supply chain.

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The report, from sustainable fishing to seafood lovers, showcases the organisations and individuals driving change from ocean to plate as MSC certified catches near 10 million tonnes.

The volume of MSC certified catch has increased by 6% 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 2879 to 3334 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 which meet the MSC’s world-class standard for sustainable fishing.

The MSC’s report highlights just some of the commitments made by leading retailers. These include Lidl Germany’s extended range of MSC labelled products, along with initiatives from Sainsbury’s, Carrefour, Migros, Coles and Aeon.

The MSC’s 2016 consumer study also shows that sustainability is a key driver for seafood purchase, and consumers are prepared to change shopping habits to protect the oceans.

MSC certified fisheries caught more than 9.30 million tonnes of seafood in 2015-16, representing almost 10% of the total global wild caught seafood by volume.

MSC data shows that 83% (2.60 million tonnes) of seafood caught in the Northeast Pacific and 40% (3 million tonnes) of wild catch in the Northeast Atlantic is now MSC certified. As of 31 March 2016, 286 fisheries were MSC certified.

There were 38 newly certified fisheries in 2015-16 including some significant firsts: the Spanish Asturian fishing guilds became the first octopus fishery to gain MSC certification, while the China Southern Fishing Company was the first MSC certified tuna fishery in China.

Canada also realised a major milestone with certification of the country’s first Atlantic cod stock. Certification of the 3Ps cod fishery marks a new chapter in the history of cod in Canada.

Alaska Pollock – one of only 10 fisheries worldwide to have been certified three times – along with African hake, Antarctic krill and Norway’s North East Arctic cod and haddock fishery were recertified in 2015.

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.

According to MSC data, over the course of their certification, 94% of certified fisheries are required to make at least one improvement to maintain their certificate.

The report also highlights major tuna developments. According to the MSC, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s decision to adopt harvest control rules for skipjack tuna was 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.

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