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Weekly Overview: Updated MSC Standard Offers More Fisheries Protection, Zero Toleration for Forced Labour

Lucy Towers
07 October 2014, at 1:00am

ANALYSIS - In this week's news, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has launched its updated standard for sustainable fishing which reflects the most up-to-date understanding of fishery science and management, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.

The updated standard ensures that fisheries certified against the MSC standard continue to adopt the most up-to-date practices in order to ensure the security of fish stocks and livelihoods for generations to come. 

Some of the key updates of the standard include:

  • Special considerations ensuring the protection of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems
  • Strengthened requirements ensuring that shark finning is taking place
  • Requirements for more effective traceability of seafood products from fisheries into the supply chain
  • Companies successfully prosecuted for forced labour violations shall be ineligible for MSC certification

The updated standard will apply from 1 April 2015. 

Aquaculture in the UK is to get a boost after £6 million worth of funding has been made available to deliver bioscience and environmental science research projects that address key priorities in aquaculture.

Research companies BBSRC and NERC will both contribute £2.5 million each alongside CEFAS, Marine Scotland and AFBI, which brings the total fund to £6 million.

This is the first time these funders have worked together in this area, providing a coordinated approach to UK aquaculture. 

Professor Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "Aquaculture is a vital part of future food security and we must fund research now to ensure sustainable sources of nutritious food in the years to come. Aquaculture can also support the UK economy – the value of the industry in the UK is £600 million per year and growing." 

Ecuadorian company OMARSA is the first shrimp producer to gain Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification.

Shrimp farms have been able to enter ASC assessment since the shrimp standard and audit manual were finalised in March 2014.

“This is quite a milestone for us to be celebrating; ASC certified shrimp has been eagerly awaited by the market. I look forward to seeing OMARSA’s ASC certified products reach the shelves,” said ASC’s CEO Chris Ninnes.