MSC Certification of Southern Ocean Fisheries

In Xue Guifang and He Liu (eds), Law and Governance: Emerging Issues of the Polar Regions. Beijing, China University of Political Science and Law Press, 2018, pp. 243-268.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has since its establishment in 1997 become the world’s leading certification scheme for wild capture fish. Currently, around ten per cent of the world’s harvest of wild capture fish is MSC certified. One of the ocean areas with greatest MSC coverage is the Southern Ocean. In the Atlantic Antarctic, where 95 per cent of the Southern Ocean fishery takes place, 47 percent of the catch comes from certified fisheries (krill and toothfish). This chapter provides an overview of the processes and outcomes of MSC certification in the Southern Ocean. The most important question is to what extent and in which ways private schemes like MSC can supplement public regulation of fisheries in Antarctic waters. Most importantly, MSC certification has contributed to combatting IUU fishing, and the fishing companies have taken steps to increase observer coverage, finance research and involve stakeholders in order to get and remain certified.