Marine Stewardship Council
Based in London, the Marine Stewardship Council was established in 1997 by WWF and Unilever, becoming fully independent in 1999. MSC works to sustain stocks in the wild rather than aquaculture farmed fish.
MSC-certified fish is now available in a total of 97 countries, sourced from 231 certified fisheries, with 10% of all wild seafood now being caught to the MSC standard - 2015 Report.
MSC is governed by a Board of Trustees.
There is no formal membership structure, but it is recognised that the Board should be balanced with representatives from different sectors and geographical regions to reflect the broad mix of people who have a stake in the MSC's mission.
The Board of Trustees is advised by a Technical Advisory Board for technical and scientific matters, as well as a broader Stakeholder Council.
The bulk of MSC’s funding comes from charitable activities (logo licensing), with some also from charitable donations.
Globally, there are now almost 20,000 MSC-certified products available from retailers and restaurants.
In the UK, nearly 900 products are available to buy at retailers large and small. The UK is also one of ten countries with restaurants supplying MSC fish.
MSC's standards are grouped under three key principles:
1. Sustainable fish stocks – maintaining high populations; promoting stock recovery; sustaining age and genetic structure of stocks.
2. Minimising environmental impact – sustaining ecosystem balance; protecting endangered species.
3. Effective management – respecting international agreements; long-term planning; stakeholder engagement; observing the rights of indigenous fishers; creating mechanisms to halt the fishing of threatened stocks.
Certification to the MSC standards is conducted by third-party auditors.
Campaigners including Greenpeace and conservation workers have questioned the sustainability of some of the fisheries accredited by MSC. .
High. The MSC is the world's leading certification and ecolabelling program for sustainable seafood.
MSC is arguably one of the most transparent certification initiatives, providing background information and links to highly detailed assessment reports for individual certified fisheries in its Track a Fishery database.
It also has a list of fisheries that have exited the programme, as well as a list of those that didn't pass their certification assessment.
For consumers, the MSC website includes a ‘Where to buy’ section which has an easy-to-use and detailed list of all certified products.