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India’s Ashtamudi clam fishery: Fishing for future generations

Image of Handful of freshly caught clams, Ashtamudi fishery, India

The Ashtamudi clam fishery in southern India entered assessment to the MSC standard in 2013. As part of the assessment, the independent auditors need to visit the fishery, so we joined them to take a look.

We travelled to Kollam, a vibrant, colourful town three hours drive from Cochin, the capital of Kerala. We navigated the twists and turns of Kollam’s coconut tree-lined streets, filled with children on their way to school and women with pots balanced delicately on their heads, and arrived at the shore where we boarded the boat to the site of the fishery.

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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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What does Marine Stewardship Council certification mean?

The Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel.

Sam Wiley is the CEO of American family business Wiley’s Finest whose Alaskan Fish Oil sustainable supplements are all MSC certified. In this post he gives insider’s explanation of what certification means and why his products proudly carry the ecolabel. 

You may not have noticed it on our package, but the blue check mark on the front of every box is called the Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel. This is a prestigious and difficult to obtain certification: by our count (as of Feb 23rd 2014), only 27 fish oil supplements are MSC certified out of the thousands of different Fish Oil supplements sold worldwide.

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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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