Fish is an increasingly popular source of protein and lifestyle food choice. High demand for fish and inadequate
management of many fisheries has resulted in sub-optimum production and economic and environmental performance.
Initiatives to address these problems include regional and international fisheries agreements, NGO-campaigns and industryled
management innovations. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) was established in 1997 by Unilever and WWF to
harness market forces as an incentive to improve management of fisheries. Through extensive consultation with fishery
stakeholders the MSC established a standard describing a well-managed and sustainable fishery (the MSC Principles and
Criteria). The MSC accredits independent certifiers to assess fisheries (fish stocks) against the MSC Standard. If a fishery
achieves certification, companies selling products from the fishery are eligible to use the MSC Logo—providing they can
demonstrate traceability of the product to a certified fishery, by way of a Chain of Custody assessment. The first two
fisheries achieved MSC certification in March 2000; others are currently being assessed. Immediate management
improvements resulting from certification include improved research, management and data collection, which were required
as conditions of certification. Initial indications suggest increased demand by retailers for the newly certified products.
Future success of the MSC Certification Program will depend on the MSC’s ability to address challenges including: winning
and maintaining the confidence of all stakeholders; building public awareness of the MSC Logo; ensuring the MSC Standard
is relevant to all commercial capture fisheries; and keeping on the right side of international trade rules.
Peacey, J. The Marine Stewardship Council Fisheries Certification Program: Progress and Challenges. In: Microbehavior and Macroresults:Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute ofFisheries Economics and Trade, July 10-14, 2000, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.Compiled by Richard S. Johnston and Ann L. Shriver. InternationalInstitute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET), Corvallis, 2001.