How John West and the Marine Stewardship Council work together to help tuna consumers shop more responsibly

by John West 24/10/2022

Food and Drink, Fridge & Freezer, Services, Social & Environmental Services, Sponsored Content, Tinned Food

This is a sponsored article from Sustainable Choice verified member John West.

Sustainable Choice foundation members Simplot Australia and the Marine Stewardship Council explain how they are working in partnership to ensure we can all enjoy tuna forever.

Why is seafood sustainability a critically important issue?

At John West, we’re passionate about seafood and we’re passionate about our ocean which is why we’re committed to safeguarding its future. According to the United Nations, more than one-third of fish stocks are fished at unsustainable levels1, and with the global human population set to reach approximately 10 billion by 20502, the need to harness our natural resources responsibly is more urgent than ever.

How is John West committed to preserving ocean health through responsibly sourced products?

At John West, we are committed to sourcing seafood responsibly. This reflects our core company value of ‘Respect for Resources.’ Social, environmental, and ethical issues matter to us, and we are working to provide responsibly sourced products that are widely available and affordable. John West is the largest branded supplier of shelf seafood products in Australia and so we recognise our role in ensuring resources are respected and used wisely so that fish stocks continue to be healthy, productive, and resilient.

Why John West chose to be MSC certified

Working with the MSC helps us to credibly meet our commitment to responsibly sourcing seafood. John West preferentially sources seafood from independently certified fisheries which includes those certified to the MSC’s world-leading sustainable fishing standard. John West has been a strong supporter of the MSC for over 10 years. The MSC is an international non-profit on a mission to end overfishing by setting standards for sustainable fishing and seafood supply chain assurance. This independent organisation aims to transform the seafood industry to achieve a sustainable benchmark on a global scale. 87% of the John West range is MSC certified, and we choose to be MSC-certified because:

What does being MSC certified mean?

The MSC maintain two Standards, the MSC Fisheries Standard and the MSC Chain of Custody Standard. As a standard setter, the MSC remains independent and impartial of assessments with third party auditors accredited to assess and certify fisheries and supply chain companies to the relevant MSC Standards.

The MSC Fisheries Standard reflects the most up-to-date understanding of internationally accepted fisheries science and management and is regularly reviewed and developed in consultation with scientists, the fishing industry and conservation groups. MSC certification is successfully achieved by a fishery when they meet the three core principles:

  1. Sustainable Fish Stocks – Fishing must be at a level that ensures it can continue indefinitely and the fish population can remain productive and healthy.
  2. Minimising Environmental Impact – Fishing activity must be managed carefully so that other species and habitats within the ecosystem remain healthy.
  3. Effective Fisheries Management – MSC certified fisheries must comply with relevant laws and be able to adapt to changing requirements.

But how do we know the fish we buy is from a sustainable fishery?

It is estimated that around a third of all seafood is mislabelled or misdescribed. The MSC Chain of Custody Standard ensures that products from MSC certified sustainable fisheries are kept separate from non-certified products. For products to carry the MSC blue fish tick label, every company in the supply chain must have a valid Chain of Custody certificate. To be certified, businesses are audited by independent certification bodies based on the following:

  1. Certified supply – Companies must purchase certified product from a certified supplier
  2. Identifiable – Certified products are clearly identifiable
  3. Separated – Certified products are separated from non-certified
  4. Recorded – Certified products are traceable, and volumes are recorded
  5. Good management – Companies have a management system that addresses the requirements of the Standard

Our John West Tuna Tempters range meets the MSC Standards. John West Tuna Tempters are sourced from the Western Central Pacific region of the eight Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) nations which achieved MSC certification in 2011 – making it the world’s largest independently certified tuna supplier. As part of meeting the MSC’s Standards, every vessel fishing PNA waters for John West MSC certified tuna must have an official trained independent observer on board, checking that it’s abiding by the regulations and by the MSC’s chain of custody requirements. These include science-based limits on the fishing effort allowed in this fishery, complete segregation during fishing trip and transhipment and bans on fishing in certain sensitive areas.

What difference does buying MSC labelled John West make?

When you purchase a John West product with the MSC blue fish tick label, a contribution is made to the MSC to fund its mission. As a result, you’re helping to:

Shop with Confidence

At John West we are proud to work with the MSC to safeguard the health and future of our ocean. Each can of John West Tuna Tempters proudly displays the MSC blue fish tick, so you can help contribute to a sustainable future for our ocean. Look out for the MSC blue fish tick on the John West Tuna Tempters next time you shop.


1 Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. “Sustainable Development Goals Indicator 14.4.1 – Proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels.” https://www.fao.org/sustainable-development-goals/indicators/14.4.1/en/

2 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “World population projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100.” https://www.un.org/en/desa/world-population-projected-reach-98-billion-2050-and-112-billion-2100

by John West

This a sponsored post published on behalf of John West.