The Role of Ecolabeling in Fisheries Management and Conservation

Michel J. Kaiser*, Gareth Edwards-Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) regulates 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, a range of issues may limit the wider uptake of MSC ecolabeled products. These include a general lack of consumer concern for marine fishes and sustainable fisheries, an absence of guaranteed continued financial benefits to participating fishers, and difficulties of quality assurance that are related to complexities of 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-398
Number of pages7
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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