01 May 2020

An Overview of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) & Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

Oceans are essential to life on Earth. They cover more than 70% of the planet's surface. They regulate the climate, and supply the oxygen we need to survive. The oceans are also home to many different species of life. Much of this life is essential to sustain people's livelihoods and ensure food security as millions rely on fish as their primary source of protein.

However 33.1% of our oceans are in decline. They are being fished beyond sustainable limits, in addition to being affected by climate change. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the size of marine populations has declined by almost helf since 1970. To balance economic and environmental priorities, fishing needs to be well-managed and sustainable.

So what is being done to ensure fisheries are sustainable? And how can consumers help?

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) encourage responsible fisheries management and sustainable practices to protect the future of fishing communities. MSC is an independent non-profit organization, which sets a standard for sustainable fishing.  They work with the marine industry to ensure our oceans are fished sustainably. They are independent, international, non-profit organizations that manage the world's leading certification and labeling program for responsible fishing and aquaculture. The MSC and the ASC work together to make sure the fishing supply chain has the same standards and certification at every step.

Seafood products can display the Blue Fish Label, or MSC unique certification number. Only if that seafood can be traced back through the supply chain to a fishery that has been certified against the MSC Standard.

If a product is certified to MSC and ASC, they will have either the "blue fish label" on their packaging or their unique certificate number, assures consumers that the product was responsibly sourced and was separated from fish without certification during processing. By choosing a product that is responsibly sourced, consumers are telling companies that they care about the sustainability of fisheries.




Paula McQuinn,
Food Safety & Certification Senior Auditor,
Technical Sector Manager


Paula has studied seafood technology, aquaculture farm site management, Haccp, quality management systems, aseptic sampling, Inspection, food safety, enforcement & legislation. At Intertek, Paula is a food safety & certification senior auditor and technical sector manager in North America for Intertek's  Marine & Aquaculture Stewardship Council- MSC-ASC Chain of Custody  accreditation program.

Prior to Intertek, Paula McQuinn worked in several programs including plant protection, feed, seed, and fertilizer programs as well as the seafood programs for the Canadian Federal Government's Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

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