Fish is considered healthy. But what fish can you eat with a clear conscience so as not to destroy life in the sea? Which fishing methods are sustainable? Many consumers are guided by the Blue Mark of the MSC, the Marine Stewardship Council. It is considered the most successful eco-label in the world and graces more than half of all fish products sold in Germany. Whole supermarket chains only offer MSC-certified goods. 41 percent of buyers know the seal and trust it. “You have to believe that,” says a customer in the supermarket. “It’s like organic, that’s a matter of faith. And MSC has somehow managed to convince me.
“Actually, the MSC seal guarantees: This fish does not come from overfished stocks and its catch has not damaged the marine ecosystem. But is that true? For some time there has been criticism of the seal. The standards are too lax, it is said by ocean guards.
“The story in the first” author Wilfried Huismann feels with its elaborate, worldwide search the MSC on the tooth. The WDR team finds examples that show how questionable the awarding of the seal by the MSC is. He meets fishermen who wanted to get the seal of quality mainly for marketing reasons and have gotten it, even though their fishing method damages the seabed. “If the MSC seal is on it, there are no more questions,” says the owner of a plaice fishery. A seal to sell fish better? A small Galician fisherman catching octopus and other species in the traditional way categorically rejects the MSC seal.
He and his colleagues could have applied for it. But the MSC had also negotiated with the owners of large fishing vessels, which would endanger the stocks solely because of their size.
“If the MSC only wants to certify the stock of one species, but not the fishing method, then we do not want an MSC,” says the fisherman. Again and again met Huismann on his research trip the charge, the MSC no longer meet its self-imposed standards. One of the co-founders of the eco-label even accuses the MSC of now following industry interests more than its own eco-standards. The MSC had switched “to the dark side”. What is the subject of this reproach? “The Story in the First” provides surprising and sobering insights. (Text: ARD)