/ Category / Science and technology

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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Bycatch in Brazil: Collaborating for more sustainable fishing

by Fanny Vessaz
MSC Scholarship recipient Fanny Vessaz on collaborating with fisheries to deal with bycatch issues.
Brazilian beach with fishermen, small boat and birds in the sky

Fanny Vessaz is an MSc graduate of marine biodiversity and conservation from the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil. She was a recipient of one of our MSC scholarship program grants in 2014. Her research involved assessing bycatch reduction devices in the southern Brazilian artisanal seabob shrimp trawl fishery. Here she reports on the importance of collaboration and why bycatch is a complex topic where fishing communities’ voices need to be heard.

Brazil is a highly diverse country, and its fisheries are similarly varied. Even among small-scale shrimp fisheries, the methods used can differ drastically, but regulations covering them don’t. Over the course of this year, I have been exploring the dynamics of a small-scale shrimp trawl fishery in southern Brazil and examining the issue of bycatch (the unintentional catching of marine animals that are not a fishery’s target species).

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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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Welcome to the Marine Stewardship Council’s global blog

Maldives pole and line skipjack tuna fishers

Welcome to our new blog from the Marine Stewardship Council where we will explore our vision to safeguard seafood supplies for this and future generations. With your support for our ecolabel and fishery certification program we can make that vision a reality.

We will use this blog to explain why seafood matters. We will explain our sometimes complex standards and principles; we will introduce you to some of the people who work hard behind the scenes at MSC; we will offer perspectives on the urgent issues facing our oceans; we will explore species we all love, such as beautiful tuna that cruise the oceans up to 55 miles an hour, bring you photoessays from our fisheries and gorgeous picture galleries from the deep, and of course we will give you tasty suggestions for all the MSC labelled fish you can eat.

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MSC inside story: Why you can trust MSC ecolabelled seafood

These days people are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from. DNA testing prove MSC labelled products come from a certified sustainable fishery.
DNA testing of fish samples at lab

Alison Roel is a product integrity manager in the MSC’s Standards team. She has been instrumental in the coordination of DNA testing on MSC labelled products.  In late 2013, Alison appeared in an episode of the National Geographic Wild documentary series Mission: Save the Ocean discussing her work. Here she talks about her experience and why traceability is important.

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