The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international charity based in London, with regional offices in Seattle and Sydney. Founded in 1997 it works to change the way in which the seas are fished. It seeks to reverse the decline in world fish stocks, to deliver improvements in marine conservation worldwide and to help safeguards the livelihoods of people involved in the seafood industry. The MSC uses a unique fisheries certification and eco-label programme to help transform the market for seafood to operation on a sustainable basis. The MSC eco-label is a signal for consumers that the fish and seafood products they are purchasing come from a sustainable source. It helps retailers to demonstrate that they are selling material from suppliers that care about sustainability. And it helps fishers to show that they are managing their fishery in a way that preserves fish stocks and protects the environment in which they work. Using the MSC certification and eco-label programme is the way in which a global fishing industry embracing sustainable practices and healthy productive marine eco-systems can be secured for the future. It is vital that they should.
This relatively small organisation with an annual income of about £3 million is tackling the large task of encouraging fishers to fish in a sustainable way and consumers to eat fish from sustainable fisheries. The eco-labelling and fishery certification system it operates, provides an easy, independent, science-based method to identify fish and fish products from a sustainable source in a way that no government action does. Global Ocean gives them some unconditional funding per year but recognizes that this organisation needs a lot more funds than it has. The Marine Stewardship Council receives no government funding. Despite this, MSC is galloping from strength to strength: up to around 1,500 labelled products worldwide and just about to announce the 100th fishery in the programme!