There is a new definition of, and greater protections for, endangered, threatened and protected species

The Marine Stewardship Council has launched its new global standard for the sustainable certification of wild capture fisheries.

The release of the MSC Fisheries Standard version 3.0 followed what was said to be the most extensive review of marine science and fisheries best practice ever undertaken by the organisation.

In the updated version of the standard, there is a new definition of, and greater protections for, endangered, threatened and protected species.

It also introduced a new policy to increase confidence that shark finning is not taking place within certified fisheries, and puts greater responsibility on certified fisheries to prevent and reduce the impact of lost fishing gear.

Stronger requirements are also present for the effective monitoring and surveillance of fishing operations and for international agreements on harvest strategies to safeguard shared fish stocks.

“The launch of the new Standard comes at a time when the critical and urgent need to end overfishing while feeding a growing global population has never been more profound,” said Rupert Howes, CEO of MSC.

“Sustainable fishing is a global endeavour in which the fishing industry, governments, scientists, conservationists, retailers, brands and consumers all have a role to play.”

The new standard is the result of over four years of research, public consultation and testing during which the MSC reviewed more than 600 submissions from stakeholders.

This stakeholder involvement “demonstrates the collective sense of urgency to protect our ocean and safeguard seafood supplies into the future”, according to Howes.

The body said that the new requirements would drive progress in sustainable fishing and help address the urgent need to conserve the ocean while feeding the global population.

The new standard has also been streamlined to ensure language is clear and easy to understand, and to reduce complexities, the MSC said.

Howes concluded: “The new MSC Fisheries Standard provides a global benchmark to drive forward real and lasting change in the way our oceans are fished by confidently recognising and incentivising fisheries that are world leaders in sustainability.”