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Report backs positive impact of seafood certification

Staff Writer |
A comprehensive analysis of the impact of sustainable seafood certification in safeguarding our marine resources has been published by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

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The MSC Global Impacts Report 2017 details more than a thousand examples of positive change made by certified fisheries to safeguard fish stocks and marine habitats.

Analysis of stock data from a sample* of certified and non-certified fisheries shows that MSC certified fisheries target healthy or recovering fish stocks.

Certified fisheries, overall, target larger populations of fish in the years following certification and, compared to non-certified fisheries, show less variability in the sustainability of target fish stocks.

The findings come ahead of the United Nations (UN) Oceans Conference, which is convening in New York next week to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which calls to conserve and sustainably use the oceans.

The MSC report provides governments, industry and NGOs with evidence of credible certification as a powerful tool to catalyse and secure improvements in marine fisheries.

"The MSC program provides both recognition and incentive for responsible ocean stewardship,” said Rupert Howes, MSC’s Chief Executive.

“20 years since the creation of the MSC, certified fisheries today account for 12% of global marine catch. MSC certified fisheries are targeting healthy and well managed stocks.

“They are also safeguarding marine habitats and ecosystems through ongoing commitments to improve their performance.”

MSC’s goal is for 20% of all wild caught seafood to come from fisheries engaged in the MSC program by 2020. The report clearly demonstrates that, with the correct incentives and actions, fisheries can achieve the sustainable performance required to meet SDG 14.

The MSC report shows that 94% of fisheries entering the program have made at least one improvement to achieve or maintain certification, totalling more than 1,200 over the last 16 years.

Of these, 117 actions by 39 fisheries contributed to improving habitat status, management and information.

In total, MSC certified fisheries have been involved with 46 new scientific research projects as part of efforts to better understand and minimise impacts on habitats.

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