The number of UK seafood products achieving Marine Stewardship Council accreditation continues to grow - but the rate of growth has slowed compared with previous years.
The MSC’s 2014 Global Impacts Report - published this week - shows 1,048 MSC-labelled products were on sale in the UK in March 2014. While this was 32% higher than in March 2013, the number had risen 54% between 2012 and 2013, and 89% between 2009 and 2010.
A key reason for the slowdown was the de-listing of six mackerel fisheries from the scheme after fishing quotas exceeded scientific advice, said MSC UK senior country manager Toby Middleton.
Looking at the global picture, the report found consumer appetite for MSC labelled products was increasing, with about 40% of consumers in 14 countries surveyed by the council purchasing MSC products at least once or twice a year, an 11% increase on 2010.
Middleton added that with just half of all fish volumes landed in the UK currently MSC certified, there was a “huge potential” for growth in accreditation levels. “There are opportunities to achieve accreditation for more shellfish and flatfish fisheries.”
Some 10% of all global fisheries are currently engaged with the MSC, representing 224 certified fisheries and a further 98 are currently in assessment, according to the report, which also said MSC fisheries were delivering “lasting improvements to the sustainability of marine ecosystems.”