Global fisheries governance beyond the State: unraveling the effectiveness of the Marine Stewardship Council

  • Agni KalfagianniEmail author
  • Philipp Pattberg


Marine ecosystems are increasingly under pressure. Despite commitments by governments and intergovernmental organizations, such as the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement and the 1995 Food and Agriculture Organisation Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries Practices, the depletion of marine resources has intensified over the past 40 years. In this context, a number of non-state market-based governance schemes have emerged that attempt to mitigate the ongoing marine crisis through certifying sustainable fisheries. In this article, we investigate the effects of one of the most prominent private organizations in global fisheries governance, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Specifically, we evaluate the role of the MSC in addressing the worldwide decline in fish stocks and examine broader political and socio-economic effects that are often associated with the emergence and implementation of private rules and standards. With this analysis, we aim to unravel the conditions under which the MSC can contribute to more sustainable and equitable fisheries management at regional and global levels.


Global fisheries governance Marine Stewardship Council Policy effectiveness Marine ecosystems 



We would like to thank D.G. Webster and Will Burns for insightful comments and suggestions. We would also like to thank Daniel Hendrichs for valuable research assistance.


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Copyright information

© AESS 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.2985 Department Environmental Policy Analysis, Institute for Environmental StudiesVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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