The role of ecolabeling in fisheries management and conservation
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The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) regulate the ecolabeling of products from fisheries with the aim of promoting sustainable fishery practices. To date 11 fisheries have attained full certification and a further 7 are under review. Together these fisheries offer 220 ecolabeled marine products to consumers. Despite great potential to encourage sustainable fisheries, and thereby bring conservation benefits to marine systems, there are a range of issues that may serve to limit the wider uptake of MSC ecolabeled products. These include a general lack of consumer concern for marine fish and sustainable fisheries, an absence of guaranteed continued financial benefits to participating fishers and difficulties of quality assurance which are related to the complexities in monitoring compliance of marine fisheries. In addition, it is apparent that property-rights over the fishery seem to be an essential prerequisite for engagement in MSC and this is one major impediment to wider uptake of the scheme in current marine fisheries, which tend to be open access. Some modifications to the current scheme may be needed if wider participation of marine fishers is to be achieved. These may include a tiered approach to certification, certification of fishers rather than fisheries, governmental facilitation to assist the latter, and greater engagement with retailers and buyers rather than individual consumers. None of these changes will occur without constructive engagement of Government, retailers and the fishing industry.
Author Posting. © The Authors, 2005. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Blackwell for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Conservation Biology 20 (2006): 392-398, doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00319.x.