The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label, the most recognized seafood sustainability eco-label, is increasingly being awarded to fisheries that routinely catch thousands of vulnerable marine animals; discard excessive amounts of sealife as waste; irreversibly destroy sea floor habitats; and continue to catch overfished species.

We are calling for urgent and swift changes to the MSC certification standard in order to uphold the scientific rigour, transparency, and original vision of the seafood label as well as its promise to consumers and retailers that it is the ‘gold standard of sustainability’.

A growing number of marine conservation organizations, leading academics and researchers, animal protection organizations, and individuals working towards sustainable seafood options have joined this call and undertaken analyses to advise MSC on specific changes needed to the certification.

See all partners below.

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Critical requirements to improve the MSC

These required improvements emerge from research and analysis undertaken by non-government organizations and academics focused on marine conservation and seafood certification and are aimed at improving Principle 2 of the MSC Standard as well as the certification procedure to ensure credibility and impartiality.  They stem from our involvement as stakeholders in a range of MSC certifications, which have given rise to concerns with the MSC Standard and its application.

To see full technical details of each of the requested changes
(download the pdf)

1 Ensure that the full ecological impacts of a certified fishery are assessed and progressively improved and fisheries are not wasteful of marine lives and resources.

2Ensure that the entirety of the certified fishery methods, gear, and catch are sustainable and that all “main species” of a catch are managed equally to the target species.

3Ensure that MSC certified fisheries do not destroy seafloor biodiversity, and that the MSC Standard is consistent with internationally accepted fisheries management standards.

4Ensure that the sustainability claim of MSC certified fisheries is evidence based and transparent for all of the data used for decision making in the assessments and audits of fisheries.

5Ensure that condition-based certification is resolved prior to recertification.

6Ensure that the certification assessment and audit process are impartial.

7The MSC must proactively uphold the scientific rigour and goals of the program.


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Partner organizations, scientists, and experts
on the January 2018 Open Letter to MSC

Animal Welfare Institute, Washington, DC USA

Susan Millward,
Marine Animal Program

The Augusto Carneiro Institute, Brazil

José Truda Palazzo,
Jr., Vice-President

Blue Sphere Foundation

Candace Crespi,
Campaign Manager

BLOOM Association

Dr. Frédéric Le Manach,
Scientific Director

BlueShark Conservation, Belgium

Katrien Vandevelde & Jan Wouters,

View More Open Letter Partners

The growing list of partner organizations, scientists, and experts joining the call for change

The Black Fish Deutschland e.V.

Valeska Diemel,
1. Vorsitzende

Blue Marine Foundation, UK

Charles Clover,
Executive Director

Fundación Malpelo y Otros Ecosistemas Marinos, Colombia

Sandra Bessudo,
Fundadora/ Directora Ejecutiva

 legaSeas, New Richmond Ohio, USA

Deb Adams,

Save Our Seas Foundation, Switzerland

Michael C. Scholl,

View More Growing List Partners

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