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New MSC Ecolabel: “Slight Changes, Significant Benefits”

The only tuna fishery MSC certified so far is sourced by the American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) for Pacific albacore, but seven other fisheries are currently under assessment.

They are: American Western Fish Boat Owners Association (WFOA) North Pacific albacore tuna; Maldives pole & line and handline tuna (three fisheries); New Zealand albacore tuna troll fishery; St. Helena pole & line and rod & line yellowfin, bigeye, albacore and skipjack tuna; and Tosakatsuo Suisan Japan pole and line skipjack tuna.

The new design is not radically different, but according to MSC Chief Executive - Rupert Howes - official statement, it adds the critical text “Certified Sustainable Seafood” next to the blue oval and fish-checkmark:

“While the change is slight, it provides significant benefit to partners. The new design clarifies the MSC ecolabel indicates independent, third-party verification that the product comes from a sustainable fishery. This has been shown to add value by benefiting our partners’ sustainability credentials”, Howes added.

The new logo version will not require more print area on packaging or material than the current oval one. It brings the MSC initials and web address instead of its full name.

According to MSC, the new ecolabel implementation is designed to minimize costs. Partners are not asked to immediately change their packaging or materials carrying the old label. It should be done gradually and when most convenient.

MSC is aware that the complete makeover will take at least two years, but the organization doesn’t believe that having two logos for a certain period of time will harm the industry: “The new ecolabel is an evolution of the current version, the similarity to the existing ecolabel will prevent customer confusion and avoid loss of sales or recognition in the market”, stated Rupert Howes.