Marine Stewardship Council principles:

The  MSC has introduced a voluntary code of conduct, based on three principles:

  • a fishery must be managed and conducted in a manner that does not lead to over-fishing or depletion of the exploited populations and, for those populations which are depleted, the fishery must be conducted in a manner that demonstrably leads to their recovery;
  • fishing operations should allow for the maintenance of the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem (including habitat and associated dependent and ecologically related species) on which the fishery depends;
  • the fishery is subject to an effective management system that respects the local, national and international laws and standards, and incorporates institutional and operational frameworks that require use of the resource to be responsible and sustainable.

Permission to use the MSC logo on fish products requires independent verification that the product is exclusively derived from an MSC-certified fishery, no matter how long that supply chain from fishing vessel to consumer.  A Chain of Custody Certificate provides this verification.

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My comment is that this scheme is well intentioned, and useful.  However, it should be seen as the start of an evolving process to increase sustainability and lower environmental impact in the operations of commercial fisheries.  Principles focused on minimising by-catch, minimising destruction of habitat, and facilitating accountability (through full and honest disclosure, and reporting of quality control procedures and outcomes) are, in my opinion,  urgently needed.  Jon Nevill.