Marine Stewardship Council Vision

Marine Stewardship Council gifThe Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) operates a global seafood certification program where wild capture fisheries can become certified as sustainable. Fisheries are certified against a rigorous, scientific methodology by an independent third-party accredited certifier during the MSC Full Assessment process.  The MSC only certifies wild fisheries, it does not certify aquaculture programs.

Our vision is of the world’s oceans teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations.

MSC Mission

Our mission is to use our ecolabel and fishery certification programme to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practises, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood, and working with our partners to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis.

The MSC Theory of Change

MSC’s theory of change describes how our ecolabelling and certification program contributes to achieving our vision of the world’s oceans teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations.  


The MSC operates a certification and ecolabel program based on a scientifically robust standard for assessing whether wild-capture fisheries are ecologically sustainable and well-managed.

Creating Market Incentives to Improve the World’s Fisheries

The market incentives created by the existence and operation of the MSC program, and its uptake by major global buyers of seafood, are at the core of how the MSC promotes positive change in the world’s fisheries.

Defining and Assessing Sustainability – The MSC Standard and Scoring System

Assessing a fishery’s sustainability is complex. But the basic concept is simple – current catches should be at levels that ensure fish populations and the ecosystems on which they depend remain healthy and productive for today’s and future generations’ needs.

Assuring Credibility through Independent Assessment and Robust Process

MSC adheres to the most rigorous international standards applicable to certification programs, including the use of third-parties to assess fisheries against the standard and decide whether to award certification.

Improving the Performance of Fisheries Globally

A core tenet of economics is the powerful effect of incentives and how they shape behavior. This has proven true in the case of the MSC’s market-based program and global fishing. Many of the fisheries initially undertaking assessment against the MSC standard were well operated and had to make few changes to meet the standard. These pioneers provided the foundation for MSC to become established and the market’s recognition of these fisheries has provided the necessary incentives for other fisheries to follow.

The Marine Stewardship Council also oversees a Chain of Custody certification standard to ensure that the certified sustainable fishery products are traced throughout the supply chain. Any company wishing to sell product as MSC-certified must have MSC Chain of Custody certification for each species they wish to sell accordingly. The MSC Chain of Custody primarily assesses that processes are in place to track the MSC-certified seafood and keep it separate from non-certified seafood in the supply chain. These certifications are also completed by an independent, accredited third-party certifier and are valid for three years. Additionally, any company wishing to use the MSC ecolabel on products or restaurant / foodservice operation using the ecolabel on menus must enter into a separate Ecolabel Licensing Agreement with the MSC.

Visit the Maine Stewardship Council website for more information.


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