A coalition of food producers, environmental charities and Members of Parliament, including Richmond Park and North Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith, have taken the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to task over its inadvertent support for unsustainable fishing practices.
The MSC is well known to many consumers as being responsible for the “blue tick” that appears on fish products to certify them as being sustainable. Whilst the products sold are themselves sustainable, research has shown that many are from the same fishing sites or even the same boats as fish caught unsustainably, including with practices that are damaging to other marine life. This includes a huge amount of tuna sold throughout the UK.
The “On the Hook” campaign has sought to shine a light on these concerns and work with the MSC and retailers to improve the standard they apply to “blue tick” products. Zac convened meetings in Parliament with leading supermarkets including Waitrose, Marks and Spencer, and Sainsburys, as well as with representatives from the MSC to highlight the issue and it was very encouraging that the MSC Board has subsequently decided to modify its standard so that products will only receive a “blue tick” if all fish caught on the same trip have met the sustainability standard.