/ Category / Ocean health

Tackling illegal fishing one certificate at a time

Marine Stewardship Council Standards director David Agnew talks about the MSC's stance on the issue of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.
Coast Guard ship on horizon at dusk

Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (known as IUU fishing) is a major global problem which undermines the international community’s efforts to protect oceans for a sustainable future.

Estimated to be worth some $10-23.5 billion annually, IUU fishing damages the livelihoods of legitimate fishing operations and communities. In some parts of the world, total catches are estimated to be up to 40% higher than reported catches. Such levels of exploitation severely hamper the sustainable management of the marine ecosystem. IUU fishing covers a wide range of activities: non-compliance with regulations, non-reporting of catch, unregulated activity in high seas waters, and “fish piracy” – fishing without licences.

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MSC certified fisheries bucking the trend on biodiversity targets

by Nicolas Gutierrez
A new study co-authored by the Marine Stewardship Council’s Nicolas Gutierrez and published in Science this week reveals that additional efforts are needed to reach an internationally agreed set of biodiversity targets by 2020.
Image of large shoal of fish near surface of ocean

As one of MSC’s lead scientists, I often support scientific research into the sustainability and protection of marine ecosystems.

This week, I’m particularly proud to see one of these projects published in the journal Science.

Ecosystems and the biodiversity that underpin them are vital for sustaining human life. Recognising this, in 2010, 193 nations agreed on a set of 20 biodiversity-related goals, known as Aichi Biodiversity Targets. At the halfway point to the 2020 deadline, a team of 51 experts, including myself, from over 30 institutions got together to assess progress towards these targets, and projected whether or not they will be met.

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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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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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Maldives pole and line: a personal tale of sustainable tuna

Maldives pole and line tuna fishers by Emily Howgate

From Scotland to Switzerland, European families regularly enjoy tuna caught in the Maldives, hooked by the centuries-old fishing method of pole and line. In the UK, for example, most of the tinned MSC certified tuna you find in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s is Maldivian skipjack. In the Maldives, fishing is not just an industry, it’s a way of life. After tourism, tuna is the country’s major source of income and its primary export.

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