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Certification Group’s Sustainability Measures Questioned

The Marine Stewardship Council is one of the largest and most trusted certification bodies in sustainable seafood.

The heads of three fish hung up by their tails

Photo: Janne Moren (flickr)

As of last year, 183 fisheries had the MSC certification with another 109 seeking approval. This accounts for 10 percent of all fish caught globally.

New research suggests that the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) sutainable fishery certification label may not be reliable.

The MSC — a joint project between the World Wildlife Fund and Unilever — is one of the largest and most trusted labeling bodies for sustainable seafood. Producers applying for certification from MSC pay a fee of between $15,000 and $120,000.

According to a study set to appear in the May issue of Biological Conservation, however, a large portion of the fish MSC deems sustainable is likely to be mislabeled.

The study’s authors argue that the organization’s certification standards are not strict enough to ensure sustainability. What is more, of 19 cases filed against the fisheries and investigated by the MSC, only one was removed from the certification.

MSC has fired back, stating that a third of the researchers involved on the study were connected with filing complaints. In a statement released to Huffington Post, MSC’s Regional Director for the Americas Kerry Coughlin has assured consumers the MSC label is trustworthy.

Read More:

  • Sustainable Fish Guidelines Under Fire For Being Too Lenient, May ‘Mislead’ Consumers, Scientists Say (Huffington Post)
  • It’s Official: You Can’t Trust a ‘Certified Sustainable’ Seafood Label (Takepart)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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