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What does sustainable fishing really mean?

by Catherine Longo
MSC Impacts research manager Catherine Longo explains how scientists determine sustainability.
Shoal of fish near the surface of the ocean

“Sustainable fishing” may sound simple, but measuring whether or not a fishing operation is sustainable is actually quite complex, requiring plenty of research and data.

Fisheries scientists dedicate their time to studying how fishing can be balanced so as to allow aquatic species to maintain thriving populations, in a dynamically fluctuating and changing environment. Decades of research and managers’ experiences, trying to apply scientific advice on the ground, have shaped current practices in monitoring and managing fisheries sustainably.

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Are some types of fishing gear more sustainable than others?

by Shaun McLennan
Shaun McLennan explains why there’s no simple way to differentiate between the sustainability of various fishing gear types and methods.
Trawl fishing boat ©1001slide/iStock

Before joining the MSC in February 2016, I spent 3 and a bit years working for the UK government as fishery manager. One of my roles was to assess the impacts that different fishing techniques have on protected marine environments. As with many elements of fisheries management, the answer to the question: “Which fishing method is most environmentally-sound?” isn’t as simple as it may seem.

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How DNA testing works

by James Simpson
James Simpson breaks down the science behind the MSC's DNA testing program.
DNA testing

When you look at a piece of meat, or a piece of fish, it’s often difficult to tell what species it is. Turn it into a pie or a fish cake and the difficult becomes the impossible. That’s where DNA testing helps. With a sample half a centimetre wide dropped into a little tube of preservative, you can find out if your fish is what the packet says, or if it is something else. It’s not even very expensive.

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Sustainable tuna: challenges and solutions

by Jim Humphreys
Ensuring sustainable tuna populations is a global challenge. MSC's global fisheries coordinator, Jim Humphreys explains why and explains the solutions.
Yellowfin tuna ©MSC

Healthy tuna populations are essential to thriving oceans and fishing economies as well as being an important source of food. Tuna are among the most commercially valuable fish on the planet, providing livelihoods for artisanal fishing communities through to supporting large multinational companies.  As such, protecting tuna populations and ensuring that they are fished in a sustainable way, is a global conservation and development priority.

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Study says global fish catch is higher than reported, but there is hope

David Agnew, MSC Director of Science and Standards, responds to a report about global fish catch.
Swirl of fish

I cannot over emphasise the importance of our oceans. Not only do they provide a vital source of protein, a playground for recreation and our first line of defence against climate change, it is estimated that some one billion people rely on the oceans for their livelihood.

A new analysis of global fish catch published this week by scientists at the University of British Colombia serves as a timely reminder of the contribution that fishing makes to food security and the potential it has to damage marine ecosystems if not managed effectively.

The findings make a strong case for the need for sustainability and good management of our oceans resources. Something that the MSC program is tackling across the world.

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