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Reasons to be optimistic about the world’s oceans

by Rupert Howes
Our chief executive Rupert Howes talks global impacts and the lasting changes the MSC's fishery and retail partners are having on the health of the oceans.
Group of female seafood processors laughing and smiling

Our oceans are vital: they supply protein, livelihoods and even every second breath of air we take. But our oceans are under increasing pressure.

In 1997 after the Newfoundland cod stocks collapsed, the Marine Stewardship Council was established  with a mission to safeguard fish stocks for future generations.

Clearly, the challenges of overfishing have not gone away even though supplies of wild capture fish and seafood have plateaued at around 90m tonnes over the past five years [1]. Some 29% of our seas are overfished [2] and if anything, the challenge will intensify as the global population rises to 9.6 billion by 2050, and with it the demand for protein to feed the world.

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MSC Inside Story: Developing World Program

Cassie Leisk talks about the latest MSC film and how her team work with developing world fisheries to improve resource management and enhance welfare.
Three people on a small boat off with video camera, of the coast of the Gambia

Did you know the MSC has a dedicated developing world program? Recently the program came to the forefront of the organisation’s work with the production of its film Our Fisheries, our Future. The film follows three developing world fisheries as they discuss the importance of sustainability and how the MSC program is helping them improve the management of their resource, access to markets and enhance their economic welfare. The fisheries features lessons learned from a range of stakeholders involved with the fisheries, where they talk about the benefits and challenges of sustainability and MSC certification.

We asked engagement manager, Cassie Leisk about the making of the film.

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World’s biggest seafood event to put spotlight on sustainable fishing

Seafood Expo Global: This year's annual gathering of 25,000 seafood industry professionals will highlight the importance of sustainable fishing practices. From Green Futures magazine.
Image of Marine Stewardship Council stand at Seafood Global Expo 2013

By Duncan Jeffries, Green Futures Magazine

Seafood Expo Global, the world’s largest seafood trade event, takes place on 6-8 May in Brussels. Around 25,000 buyers, suppliers and processing-industry professionals from over 140 countries are set to attend, and between them the 1,690 exhibiting companies supply nearly every type of seafood imaginable.

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Anova Seafood: Sustainability, responsibility and success

Cod fishing boat in the Atlantic with waves

Anova Seafood is a leading retail and foodservice seafood supplier. Based in the Netherlands the company also has offices in Indonesia and Vietnam. Each year, Anova sells 30,000 tonnes of seafood products, 70 percent of which goes to supermarket chains troughout Europe. They believe their efforts towards corporate responsibility and sustainability are key to their success. We spoke to Anova’s Meike Cremers…

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Fish for good in the developing world

Image of sole fishers in the Gambia bring catch to beach

By Rupert Howes, MSC chief executive. Image © NASCOM.

Our oceans make up 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, contain 80 percent of all biodiversity, drive global weather systems and have provided a wonderful and diverse bounty of seafood for millennia. Current harvests deliver nearly one-fifth of total human protein needs. Millions of livelihoods also depend upon this last great global industry harvesting a wild resource for food.

However, global fish stocks and our oceans are in trouble. Over the past five decades, production has increased fivefold as seafood consumption has outpaced global population growth. With the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN indicating that nearly 85 percent of assessed stocks are already either fully or over exploited or depleted, there is little room for further growth in production to meet growing demand, let alone the additional demands of an estimated two billion extra people by 2050.

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