Greenpeace Denmark has made a complaint about the use of the word “sustainable” in the marketing of MSC-labelled fish
Greenpeace in Denmark has made a complaint to the Consumer Ombudsman about the use of the word “sustainable” in the marketing of MSC-labelled fish.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation that sets globally recognised standards for sustainable fishing and the seafood supply chain. In December 2022, the MSC was recognised by the UN as a global indicator for efforts against the loss of biodiversity.
The MSC ecolabel on a fish product means that it comes from a wild catch fishery that has been independently certified. MSC is the only international seafood labelling program recognised by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative, which is an independent criterion for the credibility of sustainable seafood certification programmes. The MSC program is based on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s principles for environmental labelling of wild-caught seafood.
Greenpeace has questioned the sustainability because they disagree with the MSC in relation to which types of gear, for example bottom trawls, should be able to get the MSC label.
“MSC is the world’s strictest environmental certification for fishing. For 25 years, MSC has demonstrated how to drive the fishing industry towards greater sustainability. We work every single day to – on a large scale – drive fishing towards better fishing practices, where we can make more fisheries more sustainable. That is why we also welcome Greenpeace in their focus on sustainability, because it is a common goal,” says Linnea Engström, programme director for the MSC Baltic Sea Region and Scandinavia.
“In relation to Greenpeace, MSC’s approach is different, we work broadly and would like to include more fisheries and consumers on board the sustainability ship. We respect the second approach with a predominant focus on the gear types themselves, but at MSC we do not exclude certain gear types, we work to ensure that fish are caught in quantities that allow fish stocks to remain healthy and productive for the future and that the fishery is managed with care, so that other species and habitats in the ecosystem are kept healthy.”
The MSC emphasises that fishing with bottom-trawling gear looks different in different ecosystems and in different parts of the world, and that in some cases the gear should be changed. MSC’s standard is precisely one concrete tool to drive different types of fishing towards increased sustainability, regardless of gear.