Marine Stewardship Council

Certified Sustainable Seafood MSC LogoThe Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) operates a certification and ecolabel program based on a scientifically robust standard for assessing whether wild-capture fisheries are ecologically sustainable and well managed.

The market incentives created by the existence and operation of the MSC program, and its uptake by major global buyers of seafood, are at the core of how the MSC promotes positive change in the world’s fisheries.

It was founded in 1997 in a partnership between WWF and fish processor, Unilever, in response to the Newfoundland Grand Banks cod fishery collapse. It’s now an independent, not-for-profit organisation based in London.

MSC’s mission is to use its ecolabel and fishery certification program to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by:

  • Recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices;
  • Influencing the choices people make when buying seafood; and
  • Working with partners to ensure the seafood market remains sustainable.

The MSC sets a standard for:

  1. Sustainable fishing; and
  2. Traceability (chain of custody).

Each fishery must prove that it complies with the MSC’s standard for sustainable fishing, which has three overarching principles:

  1. Sustainable fish stocks: The fishing activity must be at a level, which sustains the fish population. Certified fisheries must operate in a way that avoids over-exploitation so that fishing can continue indefinitely.
  2. Minimizing environmental impact: Fishing operations should be managed so that the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem on which the fishery depends is maintained.
  3. Effective management: The fishery must meet all local, national and international laws and have a management system, which can respond to changing circumstances while maintaining sustainability.

Get certified! Your guide to the MSC fishery assessment process (3.07 Mb)

Download WA MSC Leaflet(3.847127Mb)

MSC 2013-2014 Annual Report (2.23 Mb)

MSC 2014 Global Impact Report Summary (2.84 Mb)

Learn more about the MSC by visiting