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MSC Certified Catch

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2015

Coverage

Global

Availability

Freely available

Partners

Msc

Marine Stewardship Council

Contact point

Taylor Gorham: Taylor.Gorham@msc.org

Indicator description

MSC Certified Catch measures the green weight catch of fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, and compares this to total wild capture production as reported by the FAO. Certified catch as a percentage of total catch is an indication of the share of global seafood that is caught in an ecologically sustainable manner, and also illustrates commitment from fishers, seafood companies, and governments to achieving and demonstrating sustainability.

Related Aichi Targets

Primary target

6

Target 6:

By 2020 all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.

Secondary targets

Target 4:

By 2020, at the latest, Governments, business and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption and have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits.

Primary target

6

Target 6:

By 2020 all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.

4
6

Related SDGs

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 14

GOAL 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Target 14.4| Relevant indicator

By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics.

Target 14.7| Relevant indicator

By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 14

GOAL 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 14

Other related MEAs and processes

Cms logo blue4c

CMS

Target 5| Relevant indicator

Governments, key sectors and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption, keeping the impacts of natural resource use on migratory species well within safe ecological limits to promote the favourable conservation status of migratory species and maintain the quality, integrity, resilience, and connectivity of their habitats and migratory routes.

Target 6| Relevant indicator

Fisheries and hunting have no significant direct or indirect adverse impacts on migratory species, their habitats or their migration routes, and impacts of fisheries and hunting are within safe ecological limits.

Target 13| Relevant indicator

Priorities for effective management and conservation of migratory species and migratory systems have been included in the development and implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans, where relevant, with reference to regional CMS agreements and action plans and their regional implementation bodies.

Indicator icon

IPBES Global Assessment Chapters

Chapter 2| Official indicator

Status and trends; indirect and direct drivers of change

Chapter 3| Official indicator

Progress towards meeting major international objectives related to biodiversity and ecosystem services

Chapter 5| Official indicator

Scenarios and pathways towards a sustainable future

Indicator icon

IPBES Regional Assessment Chapters

Chapter 4| Relevant indicator

Direct and indirect drivers of change in the context of different perspectives of quality of life

Chapter 6| Relevant indicator

Options for governance, institutional arrangements and private and public decision-making across scales and sectors

Cms logo blue4c

CMS

Indicator icon

IPBES Global Assessment Chapters

Indicator icon

IPBES Regional Assessment Chapters

Cms logo blue4c
Indicator icon
Indicator icon

Themes

Marine

Marine & freshwater habitats

View related indicators >
Bip sustainable

Sustainable use of natural resources and land

View related indicators >
Marine
Bip sustainable

Partners

Msc

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2015

Coverage

Global

Availability

Freely available

Indicator description

MSC Certified Catch measures the green weight catch of fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, and compares this to total wild capture production as reported by the FAO. Certified catch as a percentage of total catch is an indication of the share of global seafood that is caught in an ecologically sustainable manner, and also illustrates commitment from fishers, seafood companies, and governments to achieving and demonstrating sustainability.

Contact point

Taylor Gorham: Taylor.Gorham@msc.org

Graphs / Diagrams

Figure 1. MSC Certified Catch, and Certified Catch as a percentage of global catch (as reported by FAO), from 1999 through end 2015.

Certified catch from pre-2012 may be less accurate due to changes in reporting requirements for MSC fisheries, therefore these figures should be treated as estimates. Certified fisheries includes fisheries which are suspended.

Current storyline

The MSC is a standard setter for sustainable fishing practices. It is a voluntary programme whereby fisheries can be certified as ecologically sustainable and gain market recognition for that status. The Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) Fisheries Standard comprises three core principles that every fishery in the program must meet: (1) Sustainable fish stocks; (2) Minimising environmental impacts; and (3) Effective management of the fishery.

Catch of MSC certified fisheries reveals trends in the number and size of fisheries which uphold these three pillars of ecological sustainability. As the MSC is a voluntary programme, this indicator does not necessarily reflect the total amount of seafood caught in an ecologically sustainable manner, but it does provide an indication of the level of commitment to sustainability from fishers, seafood companies, government bodies, scientists, conservation groups and the public.

MSC certified landings currently represent about 10% of global wild caught seafood (FAO, 2014), or 9.34 million tonnes per year (Figure 1). This has risen rapidly from 0.4 million tonnes in 2000, to 2.8 million tonnes in 2008, to 6.6 million tonnes in 2012. Fisheries which caught 380,000 tonnes of fish were newly certified by the MSC between Dec 2014 and Dec 2015. Note that only 4575 tonnes are caught by inland fisheries. This is mainly due to the MSC’s ecolabeling program having been traditionally marine-focused.

Figure 2. Number of improvements completed and to be completed by MSC certified fisheries by 2020.

A critical aspect of the MSC program is that it allows fisheries that meet the standard’s minimum requirements to be certified provided they commit to making improvements that result in best practice performance. Examples of improvements include reductions in catch to improve stock status, changes in fishing gear to minimise bird bycatch, or conducting a formal review of fishery management performance. Where necessary, improvements must be completed within the 5-year certification cycle. Through this process, the MSC program incentivises positive changes in global fisheries. Patterns in the number of improvements made within the different MSC principles reveal patterns in the areas of fishery management where change is being made on the path to sustainability.

1108 action plans for improvement have been completed across the three MSC principles since 2000. A further 1161 improvements are ongoing, with completion expected by 2020 (Figure 2). Over the last 15 years, 33% of improvements made in MSC fisheries have related to the sustainability of fish stocks, 44% to minimising environmental impact, and 23% to effective fishery management. Between 2016 and 2020, 31% of improvements will be made in sustainable fish stocks, 48% in minimising environmental impact, and 21% will be in effective fishery management.

Overall the greatest number of improvements being made by fisheries in the MSC programme are to do with environmental impacts, suggesting both that this is the area of sustainability performance that requires to most attention (even by well managed fisheries). Environmental impacts can include impacts on bycatch species, aquatic habitats, or ecosystem functionality.

Data and methodology

This indicator is the sum total of all green weight catch from all certified fisheries, or the weight of landed fish before processing. The catch figures are collected from the fisheries and reported to the MSC by accredited third party certification companies. Global catch figures are taken from the FAO data portal, which can be accessed here: http://www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/global-capture-production/en. Catch of whales, seals and other aquatic mammals are not included when calculating global catch to compare to MSC fisheries because they are out of scope for MSC certification. FAO catch data is published two years in arrears, so the most recent MSC tonnage data is compared to global capture data that is two years out of date.

When fisheries are assessed against the MSC sustainability criteria, they are given a score for 31 different performance indicators. If any of these falls below the best practice bar (80/100), but above a minimum acceptable level (60/100), the fishery is assigned a condition. The number of improvements made is the number of performance indicators that have been rescored to 80 or higher (condition closed). Improvements to be completed are those conditions which are still open, and which will be closed within the next 5 years.

National use of indicator

Producing this indicator nationally: Catch data is reported by country where fishing takes place, which is not necessarily the same as where the vessels or fishing company are registered. In some cases, fishing by one fleet occurs in multiple country EEZ’s or in international waters. The country selected for reporting is the country where the majority of fishing takes place. The MSC certified catch for a given country would therefore be the sum of green weight catch for all fisheries listed with that country as the primary country.

Use at the national level: The MSC certified catch compared to the total wild catch of fish and marine invertebrates can be used as an indication of the proportion of national fisheries that are managed to be ecologically sustainable. More broadly, this indicator points to the level of commitment to sustainability from fishers, seafood companies, government bodies, scientists, conservation groups and the public. This indicator also allows countries to compare their national commitment to sustainable fishing to other countries using the proportion of sustainable catch figures.

Further resources

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2015

Coverage

Global

Availability

Freely available

Partners

Msc

Marine Stewardship Council

Contact point

Taylor Gorham: Taylor.Gorham@msc.org