MSC Board Approves New Fisheries Standard


After four years of significant scientific research and consultation with over 1,000 stakeholders, the Marine Stewardship Council’s new Fisheries Standard has received unanimous approval from its Board of Trustees, which hailed it as a ‘major achievement’.

It addressed some of the most difficult issues facing the ocean, including protecting marine biodiversity and incentivising stronger ocean governance. It also aimed to improve accessibility to the MSC’s sustainability programme for small-scale and emerging market fisheries.  These improvements will ensure that MSC-certified fisheries continue to be recognised as world leaders in sustainability, helping to drive progress towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including the target to end overfishing.

The improvements of the new Fisheries Standard include:

  • A new approach to protect endangered, threatened or protected species. Fisheries will be expected to minimise their impacts on such species to help their population recover.
  • A “Fins Naturally Attached” policy will be mandatory in all fisheries that retain sharks. These measures will strengthen the existing ban on shark-finning in MSC-certified fisheries.
  • Some existing requirements have been stream-lined with the objective of making assessments more efficient and improvements in methods to aid data-limited fisheries, will increase accessibility.
  • New measures for multi-jurisdictional fisheries, managed by RFMOs, to secure credible, robust harvest strategies.
  • New evidence requirements will ensure that fisheries – especially those operating on the high seas with unwanted catch that includes, for example, marine birds – will have to produce stronger proof of how they are managing their impacts.

You can learn more about the new Standard, its objectives and revised areas here.