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Sustaining the fishing culture of the Philippines

by Kelvin Ng
MSC Asia-Pacific director Kelvin Ng talks about fishing culture and issues surrounding sustainable fishing in the Philippines.
Filipino fishermen hauling their fishing net to shore.

While preparing for the Responsible Business Forum in Philippines, I began reading up on the rich history of Filipino culture. What particularly caught my attention, were the mythical stories about the “Serinas” and “Siyokoy.” These characters are the equivalent of mermaids and mermen in Filipino culture and are known as the “bantay tubig” or Guardians of Water.

As I read about these guardians, I started to reflect about how our work at the MSC relates to these mythical figures. We set the standards for sustainable fishing and educate people through our programs about responsible seafood choices and the importance of good fishing practices. We do all of this so that we can see the oceans teeming with life and our seafood supplies safeguarded.

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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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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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MSC inside story: The world’s largest sustainable tuna fishery

Almost half of the world's tuna is landed by the PNA tuna fishery which is MSC certified as sustainable and well managed. Bill Holden explains what this means.
Bill Holden MSC Pacific fisheries manager

Originally from San Diego, Bill Holden landed a Peace Corp posting in Tonga, in the Pacific Islands and decided to stay on for a while. He owned and operated a tuna fishing business for more than 20 years before joining the MSC. He recently appeared in the National Geographic Wild documentary Mission: Save the Ocean, talking about the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) skipjack tuna fishery which operates in the western and central Pacific. We asked him a few questions about his work…

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Shetland scallops: how a dredge fishery got MSC certified

MSC certified Shetland Scallops

One of the things we get asked a lot is “How did a dredge fishery get MSC certified?” It’s a reasonable question. Dredgers don’t have the best reputation with environmentalists and, in my heart, I count myself as an environmentalist and I think this certification is great news. So what gives Shetland the edge?

I’m often heard talking about Shetland’s strong history of spatial planning, closed areas, fishermen’s input, links to good science and the fact the they have a regulated fishery, all of which contribute to their achievement of MSC certification. While the achievement of MSC certification is down to a combination of a number of things this blog is a chance for me to go into a little more detail, to help explain a little more about what sets this fishery apart from some others.

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