Half of MSC-certified tuna comes from fisheries using destructive FADs

In a new report of BLOOM’s ‘TunaGate’ series, we denounce the dangerous role the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label and retailers worldwide play in the destruction of marine ecosystems.

They appear to have abandoned any form of ambition with regards to the ‘sustainability’ of the most profitable fisheries in the world: tropical tuna fisheries. We show that since the first tuna fishery was certified in 2007, MSC-certified volumes have been multiplied by 730, skyrocketing from three million kilos to over 2.2 billion kilos (i.e., roughly half of the global tuna catch; and quickly rising).

The prevalence of tuna catches made via ‘fish aggregating devices’ (FADs) is particularly worrisome, as this method is responsible for the death of millions of immature tuna every year, and of vulnerable species including sharks and turtles. (1) Although the MSC itself considers that “tackling the problems associated with FAD fishing is critical to our ocean’s health and productivity” (2) FAD-associated catches now account for over half of the MSC-certified catch.

By willfully endorsing the MSC and by paying royalties to the MSC to use its logo, we consider that retailers bear a major responsibility in the ongoing collapse of the world’s biodiversity. We ask them to swiftly distance themselves from the sham that is the MSC and to start implementing independent and truly ambitious purchasing policies.