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The Marine Stewardship Council on Wednesday published a report quantifying the environmental improvements experienced by fisheries participating in the London-based sustainable fisheries program.

Titled “Researching the Environmental Impacts of the MSC Certification Program,” the study is the first-ever to evaluate performance through the entire MSC assessment process, according to the organization.

The study focused on improvements in eight key performance indicators, including stock status and bycatch, for all fisheries. In the pre-assessment processes, between 50 and 70 percent of performance indicators measured at a level of 80 or higher. But five years after earning certification, more than 90 percent of the performance indicators scored 80 or higher.

Additionally, the study produced new data on fisheries in the pre-assessment process. As of February, 447 fisheries had gone through the pre-assessment process. Of those, only 17 percent were recommended to proceed to full assessment without any additional work, 48 percent required additional work before considering full assessment, and 35 per cent were not recommended to pursue full assessment. Of the 447, only 35 percent had, in fact, advance to full assessment.

“These results show that the MSC program is providing fisheries with a globally recognized standard of sustainability that is being used, not only by fisheries already close to achieving it but also by fisheries that have further to go to reach this benchmark,” said Keith Sainsbury, vice chair of the MSC Board of Trustees. “Many of these latter fisheries then enter into defined ‘improvement projects,’ a type of project that has have grown tremendously in number over the last few years. The high number of confidential pre-assessments is an indication of this previously unknown aspect and benefit of the program.”  

Click here to download the MSC report.

Early this week, the Suriname Atlantic seabob shrimp fishery became the latest fishery to receive MSC certification, bringing the total number of certified fisheries to 133.

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