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MSC certified fisheries are driving improvements, says report

Fisheries certified by the MSC are having a positive impact on the marine environment, according to a new report.

The MSC Global Impacts Report 2013 identified almost 400 improvements in fisheries involved in the program. In particular, it revealed that 13 fisheries have improved stock management, bringing stock levels up to accepted global best practice for healthy stocks.

A further 22 fisheries have completed improvement action plans targeted on habitats and ecosystems, including gear modification, additional investment in research, and new closed areas, while 64 fisheries have completed fishery management improvements including strengthened compliance with regulations.

The report set out a number of further improvements it would like to see in place by 2016. For example, more fisheries committing to reducing the impact of fishing on seabed habitats, providing information around impacts on endangered, threatened and protected species, and producing robust harvest control rules in order to protect stocks for future generations.

This is the first time the MSC has published a quantitative evaluation of its performance and impact on the oceans and seafood markets. It is the only seafood certification program to be carrying out this sort of performance evaluation at present.

Commenting on the report, MSC standards director Dr Agnew said: "This is the first publication of a report which seeks to continually investigate the impact that MSC is having on fisheries worldwide. Most of the fisheries in the program became MSC certified within the last five years and within the next five years we aim to widen our understanding of the impacts of those fisheries. Our expectation is that these regular global impact reports will provide a valuable resource for those interested in how the MSC is operating, and will help us all create a program that delivers the vision we have for the oceans.”