Sales of seafood products carrying the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability logo amounted to approximately €6.8 billion for the financial year to March 2018, an increase of €2.3 billion from the previous financial year according to estimates from the MSC. According to the annual report, the increase in sales were a result of the 912,785 metric tonnes of MSC-labelled products sold and the calculated 40% global average retail mark-up from wholesale values for products containing the MSC eco-label. MSC continues to grow. An additional 3,795 companies adopted the MSC logo globally in 2017-18 resulting in 28,250 products with the sustainability label. In the period 2017-2018 10 million metric tonnes of certified global catch was exceeded, which represents 13% of the total global marine catch. In addition, MSC saw revenue increase 20% in the financial year to 31 March 2018. MSC aims to certify 30% of global catch by 2030, according to Rupert Howes, the chief executive.
MSC certificates for two European fisheries will be suspended from March 12, 2019. Independent certifier Bureau Veritas issued a notice of suspension for the South of Brittany purse seine sardine fishery in France and the Spanish Bay of Biscay purse seine sardine fishery based on updated advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). ICES revised the understanding of the sustainability of the sardine stock and accordingly advised a reduction in fishing effort. According to ICES the Bay of Biscay sardine stock remains healthy, but the fishing effort is significantly higher than what is consistent with achieving Maximum Sustainable Yield. These issues pose a threat to low trophic level and short-lived species like sardines as their populations experience large fluctuations over short time frames. Spokespersons for the two fisheries said they were disappointed with the notice of suspension, but they understood the need for a strong management plan for the sustainability of the stocks. They reiterated their commitment to work together with fisherman and the science community to ensure the viability of the fishery for future generations. All is not lost for the two fisheries, they have 90 days from the date of the Notice of Suspension to formulate a corrective action plan. If the fisheries can implement mechanisms which ensure catches are in line with the new advice the notice will be rescinded, and the certification will remain.