The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent non-profit organization with an ecolabel and fishery certification programme. Fisheries that are assessed and meet the standard can use the MSC blue ecolabel. The MSC mission is to 'reward sustainable fishing practises’. When fish is bought that has the blue MSC ecolabel, it should indicate that this fishery operates in an environmentally responsible way and does not contribute to the global environmental problem of overfishing.
The MSC environmental standard for sustainable fisheries was developed over two years through a consultative process. The three principles of the MSC standard consider:
The condition of the fish stock(s) of the fishery
The impact of the fishery on the marine ecosystem
The fishery management system
The MSC standard is consistent with the ‘Guidelines for the Eco-labelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Wild Capture Fisheries’ adopted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2005. Any fishery that wishes to become MSC certified and use the ecolabel is assessed against the MSC standard by a third party, independent certification body that has been independently accredited to perform MSC assessments by Accreditation Services International (ASI). Chain of custody certification along the supply chain from boat to point of sale ensures that seafood sold bearing the ecolabel originated from an MSC certified fishery.