On January 24th, McDonald’s announced that it will be the first national restaurant chain to carry a label certifying sustainable fishing practices. The blue “Fish Forever” ecolabel” from the Marine Stewardship Council (“MSC”) certifies that the Alaskan Pollock used in McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches come from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices.
MSC certification indicates that over 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants across the US have met the MSC Chain of Custody standard for traceability, which is the ability to track the fish all the way back through the supply chain to the fishery. Under the MSC certification program, these fisheries have been assessed by independent scientists against three core principles: the health of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the ecosystem and the management system that oversees the fishery.
McDonald’s, which uses MSC certified wild-caught Alaska Pollock for its Filet-O-Fish sandwich, will begin displaying the MSC ecolabel beginning in February 2013 – coinciding with the launch of Fish McBites. In 2011, McDonald’s introduced the same MSC certification for all its European restaurants.
In 2000, Whole Foods Market was the first to carry the Marine Stewardship Council’s “Fish Forever” label. This market trend is now reaching critical mass as consumer concerns with sustainable fish increases. No doubt, 2013 will see much more use of the MSC “Certified Sustainable Seafood” label in restaurants and grocery stores.