Reel Stories of Change: ecolabeling and sustainability

This speed talk will explore the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) standard setting and seafood certification program, and how efforts by fisheries to maintain certification have resulted in real positive changes on the water. To become (and stay) certified, fisheries are incentivised to protect fish stocks, habitats and the wider ecosystem. One way this occurs is when conditions are placed on a fisheries’ certification. Here, fisheries must improve their operations or lose their certificate. Two MSC certified fisheries, South African Hake and Alaska Pollock fishery, have had success when conditions were imposed resulting in significant conservation actions.

 The South African Hake fishery discovered the fishing gear was killing 8,000-15,000 seabirds and the continuation of their certification was reliant on this being reduced. They successfully reduced the mortalities by 73-95%. In the Alaska Pollock fishery there were many different conditions linked to incorporating ecosystem considerations and impacts on habitats. Following work to improve and maintain their certification a study conducted by NOAA using drop cameras proved they had almost no impact on canyon sponge/coral assemblages.  This talk will explore these stories looking into how MSC conditions and ecolabeling can continue to improve sustainable fishing. By Jennifer Rasal from the Marine Stewardship Council.