The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) welcomed on June 7 the publication of a paper in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution that recommends certification and ecolabeling programs as part of the solution to ending the overexploitation of fish stocks globally. The paper, co-authored by Nicolas Gutierrez and Yimin Ye of the UNFAO, recognises that, while improvements in fisheries management in developed countries have greatly reduced overfishing in these regions, the reliance on importing seafood from the developing world has led to a strain on resources there.
The MSC has long recognised the need to ensure sustainability of small-scale and developing world fisheries. To this end the MSC’s Developing World Program includes tools such as a capacity building training program, fishery pre-assessment templates and a risk-based framework for assessing data-deficient fisheries all aimed at improving accessibility to its program.
The authors of the paper conclude that unless a greater emphasis is put on replicating successes in fishery policies and management in the developing world, where 73% of seafood is now caught, the 30% of stocks that are overfished globally will not be restored by 2020 and Sustainable Development Goal 14 will not be achieved.
“The MSC is focussed on playing our part in achieving SDG14 and safeguarding seafood supplies worldwide for the future. This is why we have introduced a number of tools to support small-scale and developing world fishery participation in our program. The risk-based framework in particular has already been used to great success in the MSC certified Suriname seabob fishery and the artisanal rock lobster fishery of the Juan Fernandez Islands. Over the coming years, we will intensify our efforts in large marine ecosystems in the tropics and the Global South where there is low representation of MSC certified fisheries,” said Oluyemisi Oloruntyuyi, Head of the Developing World Program, MSC.