SFP welcomed the announcement today that McDonald’s USA will become the first national restaurant chain to display the MSC eco-label on packaging for fish products. 

The announcement marks the culmination of a partnership between SFP and McDonald’s to assess and improve the fisheries that supply material for seafood products such as the Filet-o-Fish.

Welcoming the McDonald’s announcement, Jim Cannon, chief executive officer for Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, said:

“McDonald’s commitment to source sustainably by improving sources, rather than just switching to “good” sources, has transformed the whitefish sector, reversing decades of overfishing, rebuilding fish stocks and quotas and paying handsome dividends to all whitefish buyers worldwide.”

Mr Cannon continued:

“In 2002, there were only 7 MSC certified whitefish stocks worldwide. Today there are 22 stocks with MSC certified fisheries, with more under full assessment and hoping for certification soon. Of the fisheries certified in the last decade, 61% by volume of landings (1.15 million tons) are a result of Fishery Improvement Projects initiated by SFP in which McDonald’s suppliers played a critical role in stimulating improvement efforts, enabling them to meet MSC requirements. In some cases, such as Eastern Baltic cod and Barents Sea cod, these fisheries simply would not be certifiable today without the specific actions taken by suppliers – actions that only they could take. A further 1.37 million tons of whitefish is from fisheries currently in Fishery Improvement Projects and in various stages of full assessment by the MSC.”

Mr Cannon added:

“McDonald’s, through their leadership and support for the Fishery Improvement Project model, have greatly diversified their sourcing options and are well on their way to doubling the volume of sustainable whitefish available today compared to a decade ago. However, while this is cause for celebration, much remains to be done. Many whitefish fisheries are still depleted, and even those that have rebuilt still have work to do to reduce their overall environmental impact. “