Seafood buyer support for the MSC and the number of fisheries to be assessed against MSC standard have rocketed. (Photo: Skoll Foundation/FIS)
MSC receives grants from three foundations
Wednesday, September 05, 2012, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
Three foundations have announced a combined USD 10.85 million investment in the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) through September 2015 to continue to build the global market for sustainable seafood.
The grants show a continuing commitment to MSC's certification and ecolabelling programme, to preserve the livelihoods of fishers while restoring depleted fish populations and healthy marine ecosystems, according to the Walton Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Skoll Foundation.
"MSC's certification programme for wild fish incorporates all the elements of credible certification," said Lisa Monzón, marine fisheries programme officer for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. "We value MSC's commitment to continuous improvement, transparency, and stakeholder involvement and look forward to seeing the programme grow even stronger."
The groups explained that over the past several years, major seafood buyer support for the MSC and the number of fisheries applying to be assessed against the MSC standard have both rocketed.
At present, more than 16,000 products in 86 countries carry the MSC logo, 32 times the 500 labelled products in 2007, when MSC started its recently completed five-year Strategic Plan. There are currently 287 fisheries either certified or in assessment, 13 times the total in 2007.
In addition, a recent report by Marine Resources Assessment Group documented measurable improvements in virtually all fisheries certified by the MSC.
"MSC is building a demonstrable track record of impact on the environment and global seafood markets," declared Edwin Ou, Portfolio Principal of the Skoll Foundation.
MSC's seafood certification programme allows businesses to play a direct and active role in improving global fisheries by engaging multiple stakeholders from the conservation field, seafood industry and regulatory bodies. Also, MSC focuses on transparency and effectiveness by setting measurable performance targets, receiving independent, third-party verification and working with diverse sectors to improve and update the programme, the foundations elaborated.
"It is critical to protect and restore dwindling fish populations around the world. It is equally important to ensure that the fishermen and seafood retailers who depend on those fish can continue to thrive," said Scott Burns, Director of the Environment Programme at the Walton Family Foundation. "MSC has established itself as the world leader in driving progress toward healthier fisheries and fishing communities."
With this funding, MSC said it plans to further establish its role in the sustainable seafood marketplace by strengthening buyer commitments, continuing to expand the availability of MSC-labelled seafood in retail stores worldwide, boosting support from the food service industry and meeting the growing demand associated with the rapid acceleration in fisheries applying for assessment.
The funding will also let the MSC continue to solidify its methodology for assessing fisheries and measure the impact of its programme on the environmental performance of certified fisheries.
By Natalia Real