So, where are we now? Unfortunately, the government’s response to the EAC report was weak, merely urging stakeholders to continue to engage with consultations. The MSC has not taken action beyond opening further consultations on issues that have long been identified and discussed, including on shark finning (the cutting off of shark fins) which has been banned by the MSC for 6 years yet continues in certified fisheries. On that issue in particular, now is the time for action, not further discussion.
The MSC label was established to be a tool for good in protecting fish stocks and marine ecosystems. Many MSC-certified fisheries do represent best practice, and broadly speaking, it is still advisable for consumers to buy MSC-labelled fish. However, there are certified fisheries that are a long way from sustainability where seriously harmful practices continue.
These examples undermine consumer confidence in the label, and it is primarily the responsibility of the MSC to fix this so that a consumer does not have to be an expert themselves to make a sustainable choice.