Fish Radio
September 20, 2013

Video bashes MSC client base                                                                

Marine Stewardship Council logo

Marine Stewardship Council logo

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – A cartoon video lampoons the MSC’s biggest clients.  The fishing industry is not happy. More after this —

 The At-sea Processors Association’s contributions to Alaskan universities represent the largest privately funded marine research program in Alaska’s history. Learn more at

 Federal grants are available to help “Made in America” companies compete with imports and save US jobs. Learn more at

 It’s not  smart business to publicly blast your biggest client base. The seafood industry reacted with outrage this week to a video posted to YouTube that shows cartoon animals and plants being dragged across a farm landscape in what appears to be trawl gear. It then switches to an underwater ocean scene that asks   “We don’t farm like this. Why do we fish like this?”  It ends with  “Choose MSC certified sustainable seafood.”    The problem is – 84% of the tonnage of the Marine Stewardship Council’s  certified fisheries comes from  trawl gear.


Chart from

“The MSC has a process. They use it around the world to certify fisheries. It’s a rigorous process that looks at the science. This cartoon is not that. It plays to people’s emotions and tries to draw them in a way that doesn’t look at the way the fisheries have been analyzed and certified.”   

Richard Mullins of Alaska Marine Nutrition  is a spokesman for the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation which , among others, demanded an apology and asked why the MSC allowed its name to be attached to the  cartoon in the first place.  The MSC has disavowed involvement in the video, which was produced by the World Wildlife Fund and Loblaws, Canada’s largest food retailer.   It has since been removed from all on line sites.  John Sackton of harshly criticized the MSC, saying the video   exposes a real truth – that MSC governance procedures allow stakeholders with no scientific credentials or understanding to influence changes to its standards.  Richard Mullins says the MSC is on its way to irrelevance.

 “It’s disappointing and there was a comment made that in 15 years the MSC will probably be a footnote in the sustainability process, which is probably true – especially when they start having these kind of interactions with their stakeholders.”  

 Find the video  at


Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.