Fishing is one of the most significant drivers of declines in ocean wildlife populations. Catching fish is not inherently bad for the ocean, except for when vessels catch fish faster than stocks can replenish, something called overfishing.

Overfishing occurs in domestic and high-seas fisheries where politicians, managers or the industry fail to set, implement, or enforce appropriate catch levels. Some Illegal fishing includes fishing that takes place over and above established catch limits.

Overfishing can impact entire ecosystems. It can change the size of fish remaining, as well as how they reproduce and the speed at which they mature. When too many fish are taken out of the ocean it creates an imbalance that can erode the food web and lead to a loss of other important marine life, including vulnerable species like sea turtles and corals.

scenic photo of coral reef
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

Subsidies, or support provided to the fishing industry to offset the costs of doing business, is a key driver of overfishing. Subsidies can lead to overcapacity of fishing vessels and skewing of production costs so that fishing operations continue when they would otherwise not make economic sense. Today’s worldwide fishing fleet is estimated to be up to two-and-a-half times the capacity needed to catch what we actually need.


Pole and line fishing is environmentally friendly and a selective catching method. This technique guarantees that bycatch and damage to nature are close to zero and that other ocean creatures remain unharmed.

By catching fish with pole and line, the fishermen ensure that fish stocks remain healthy. With pole and line it is impossible to fish large amounts of fish at once. This in contrast to large boats that use nets to catch fish and thus empty large parts of the ocean.

If it doesn’t have the blue label on it – DON’T BUY IT!

MSC certification is one of the best ways for fisheries to protect marine resources. Certification can give fisheries access to supply chains that require MSC certified seafood. The MSC program is the most robust certification scheme for wild-capture fisheries in the market.

By choosing seafood with the MSC blue fish label you’re helping to protect oceans, livelihoods and fish for the future.

Why choose MSC?

Our oceans need to be protected

Our oceans are home to an amazing variety of life and support the livelihoods of 1/10 of the world’s population. But marine ecosystems are under enormous pressure. Unsustainable fishing is threatening fish populations, ocean habitats, coastal fishing communities and economies. 

The MSC provides a solution

By choosing seafood with the blue MSC label you are supporting independently certified sustainable fisheries. Their good management practices help ensure fish stocks and habitats are healthy and fishing community livelihoods are secure.

Sustainability is based on science

To be MSC certified, fisheries are independently assessed by scientists and marine experts to ensure they meet their standard for environmentally sustainable fishing. Annual audits ensure that they maintain these standards.

You’re helping to protect a whole ecosystem

It’s not all about one species – MSC certified fisheries minimize their impacts on the whole marine environment to ensure healthy, thriving oceans for the future. 

You can buy with confidence

Processors, retailers and restaurants must ensure MSC certified seafood is not mixed with uncertified product. This way you can be sure that the product is correctly labelled. 

There’s plenty to choose from!

You can enjoy sustainable seafood all over the world. Just look for the blue label – it appears on tens of thousands of products in more than 100 countries. 

There’s a choice for every budget

Products with the blue MSC label range from pickled herring to luxury caviar.

You’re helping to create change

Your purchases of MSC labelled seafood create an incentive for more fisheries, retailers and restaurants to produce and sell certified sustainable seafood.

You’re helping to keep it wild

You can enjoy your seafood knowing that tomorrow there will be plenty more where it came from.

It’s difficult to decide what you can and can’t eat sustainably – especially when you’re faced with fresh fish or a restaurant menu and aren’t able to check the labelling or get details on where it is from. Here are a few tips to help you always pick sustainable seafood with ease: