Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organisation established to address the problem of unsustainable fishing and safeguard seafood supplies for the future. Our vision is for the world’s oceans to be teeming with life – today, tomorrow and for generations to come. A sustainable seafood market is crucial to making this vision a reality. We use our blue MSC label and fishery certification program to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans. We want to transform the seafood market by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices and influencing the choices people make when buying seafood. We work with fisheries and businesses around the world to achieve this mission.

Company details

Marine House, 1 Snow Hill , London , EC1A 2DH United Kingdom

More Office Locations Locations Served

Business Type:
Professional association
Industry Type:
Agriculture - Fisheries
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)

The MSC runs an exciting and ambitious program, working with partners to transform the world's seafood markets and promote sustainable fishing practices.

Our credible standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability seek to increase the availability of certified sustainable seafood and our distinctive blue ecolabel makes it easy for everyone to take part.

Set standards
The MSC has developed standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability. Both standards meet the world's toughest best practice guidelines and are helping to transform global seafood markets. Find out more about the MSC standards and our credibility.

Fisheries outreach
We offer fisheries around the world a way to be recognised and rewarded for good management. By working in partnership with sustainable fisheries to create a market for sustainable seafood, other fisheries are incentivised to change their practices. Discover MSC certified sustainable fisheries.

Commercial outreach
The MSC has joined forces with some of the world's leading retailers, brands and seafood businesses to help them meet customer expectations and increase their sustainable seafood offer. Many have placed the MSC at the centre of sustainable seafood policies. Find MSC-labelled seafood.

Raise awareness with consumers
The MSC blue ecolabel gives everyone an easy way to make the best environmental choice when shopping or dining out. Our communications and marketing activities raise awareness of our ecolabel. Try one of our delicious sustainable seafood recipes or use our product finder to find sustainable seafood.

The next generation needs to be encouraged to eat sustainable fish and understand the importance of marine conservation. Through our Fish & Kids project the MSC provides teaching resources on marine issues and our work with school lunch providers promotes sustainable seafood served in schools. Visit our Fish & Kids web site.

Work with developing countries
Half of the world's seafood comes from the developing world and for millions of people fish is a vital source of nutrition. The MSC is encouraging developing world fisheries to take part in our program and enjoy the benefits that certification and ecolabelling can bring. More about the MSC Developing World Fisheries Program.

Our vision is of the world’s oceans teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations.

Our mission is to use our ecolabel and fishery certification programme to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood, and working with our partners to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis.

We will:

  • Collaborate with fishers, retailers, processors, consumers and others to drive change forward
  • Never compromise on the environmental standard we set, nor on our independence
  • Continue to lead the world in wild capture fishery certification, with the most trusted, recognised and credible seafood ecolabel.

Fish for today, fish for tomorrow - follow the fish from boat to plate and meet the pioneers of sustainable fishing in our short movie (8 minutes).

In the early 90s the impact of overfishing on the marine environment and on seafood supplies was of increasing concern to many around the world.  This concern was heightened by the collapse of Canada’s Grand Banks cod fishery in 1992 which led to over 35,000 fishers and plant workers from over 400 coastal communities losing their jobs.

In the autumn of 1995, representatives of WWF and Unilever met to discuss what they could do to curb the problem. 

The two organisations agreed that a global, market-driven approach could contribute significantly to existing efforts. They envisaged a program for assessing and certifying sustainable fisheries, and labelling products from those fisheries. Such a program would recognise and reward responsible management of seafood resources and drive behaviour change among buyers.     

The resulting organisation would need to be independent of both the WWF and Unilever, hence the birth of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). A statement of intent was signed on 26 February, 1996 to announce the launch.

When you see seafood with the blue MSC label, you can be sure it comes from a sustainable fishery that has met our Fisheries Standard. Businesses trading in these products have met our Chain of Custody Standard for traceability.  

Fisheries and seafood businesses voluntarily seek certification to the relevant MSC Standard. These standards meet international best practice guidelines for certification and ecolabelling and were developed through consultation with the fishing industry, scientists, conservationists, experts and stakeholders.

The MSC Fisheries Standard

The Fisheries Standard measures the sustainability of wild-capture fisheries. The Standard is open to all fisheries, including those from the developing world.   

The MSC Chain of Custody Standard

The Chain of Custody Standard ensures that the MSC ecolabel is only displayed on seafood from an MSC certified sustainable fishery.

Third party Certification

To ensure that certification is credible and robust, assessment to the MSC Standards is carried out by independent, third party assessment bodies.

Reviewing MSC Standards

To ensure that our program remains fit for purpose, the MSC Standards and Certification Requirements are reviewed periodically.