Ocean Stewardship Fund to support sustainable fishing

ocean stewardship fund
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The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has increased its Ocean Stewardship Fund, aimed at driving progress on sustainable fishing practices.

The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit which aims to promote sustainability in the fishing industry. Its Ocean Stewardship Fund, which the council launched last year with seed funding of £1m (€1.17m), offers grants to support fisheries in developing and implementing sustainability policies. The MSC has now announced it will channel an additional 5% of the royalties it receives from the sale of products carrying the MSC label – an annual total of around £950,000 (€1.11m) – into the fund, nearly doubling its total resources.

The Ocean Stewardship Fund, which is now open for grant applications, is designed to support fisheries at all stages of sustainable development:

  • Fisheries making the initial transition to sustainable practice and adopting ocean-friendly policies, particularly smaller businesses and those in the Southern hemisphere, which has seen less focus on ocean conservation than the global North;
  • Fisheries engaging in research to determine best practice for preserving marine habitats. The 2019-2020 round of funding focuses particularly on research into ‘ghost gear’ – abandoned fishing equipment – and the conservation of endangered and threatened sealife species; and
  • Fisheries which have held MSC certification for 10 years or more, which are creating and implementing long term commitments to support ocean sustainability.

MSC Chief Executive Rupert Howes said: “Healthy oceans are essential to the environment, economies and communities. We’ve seen incredible progress in sustainable fishing, particularly in the Northern hemisphere; yet the rate of overfishing continues to increase at an alarming rate, particularly in the global South.

We urgently need to accelerate action and drive change at scale. The MSC is committed to doing more to empower scientists, fisheries, businesses and governments in a collective effort to safeguard oceans and seafood supplies. That’s why we’re going beyond the commitments made last year. Funds from the sale of every product sold with the blue MSC label will now go directly into projects and research to safeguard oceans for future generations.”

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