Marine Stewardship Council Certification

In July of 2008, the provincial government committed to help B.C.’s commercial fisheries obtain certification from the Marine Stewardship Council.

What is considered a sustainable fishery?

For certification, the Marine Stewardship Council recognizes three overarching principles that every fishery must meet to be considered sustainable. These are:

  • Sustainable fish stocks: The harvest level is sustainable for the fish population to ensure that fishing can continue indefinitely and is not over exploiting the resources.
  • Minimizing environmental impact: Fishing operations are managed to maintain the health and diversity of the ecosystem on which the fishery depends.
  • Effective management: The fishery meets all laws and regulations for ensuring sustainable fishing practices.

What is the Marine Stewardship Council?

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization that recognizes, via a scientifically-based certification and eco-labelling program, well-managed wild-capture fisheries. Of the numerous approaches to fisheries eco-certification, MSC is the only one that is fully consistent with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) guidelines for eco-labelling, and is considered the international “gold standard” for fisheries sustainability.

The United Nations' FAO “Guidelines for the Eco-labelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries” require that credible fishery certification and eco-labelling schemes include:

  • Objective, third-party fishery assessment utilizing scientific evidence
  • Transparent processes with built-in stakeholder consultation and objection procedures
  • Standards based on the sustainability of target species, ecosystems and management practices

Fisheries Certified

The following fisheries in B.C. are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council:

  • Halibut (September 2009)
  • Hake (October 2009)
  • Albacore tuna (March 2010)
  • Sockeye salmon (July 2010)
  • Pink salmon (July 2011)
  • Spiny dogfish (September 2011)

For a complete and up-to-date list of certified fisheries in British Columbia: