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Fiji’s First MSC Certified Sustainable Albacore Tuna Fishery

13 December 2012

FIJI - The Fiji Albacore Tuna Long Line fishery has been awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, the fourth tuna fishery in the South Pacific to achieve this. This follows an independent assessment against the MSC’s rigorous standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

Albacore tuna caught by the client group, Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association (FTBOA) is now eligible to be marketed with the MSC’s globally recognised ecolabel providing consumers with assurance that the product originates from a certified sustainable source.

Speaking on 12 December, FTBOA Secretary and Manager of the Fiji Fish Marketing Group, Russell Dunham, said the MSC certification will create market benefits for the tuna fishery.

“The certification offers opportunities to develop new markets in regions where demand for certified sustainable seafood is already high,” he said.

“MSC certification will help promote the Fiji domestic fishery and also promote Fiji’s role in asserting albacore management measures as part of the conditions of certification,” said Mr Dunham.

MSC manager for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, Patrick Caleo, is pleased to recognise another tuna fishery with MSC certification.

“The Fiji albacore tuna fishery is the first albacore long line fishery to demonstrate its sustainability credentials with an MSC certification. Tuna is one of the most popular species of fish and now consumers can enjoy verified sustainable albacore from this Fiji fishery,” he said.

Assessment against the MSC standard, which took 18 months to complete, was conducted by the independent, third party certifier, Intertek Moody Marine. In scoring the fishery the assessment team took into consideration overall stock health and management of albacore in the South Pacific, as well as all potential ecosystem impacts attributed to the Fiji fishery. The assessment found the albacore stock to be in a healthy state and the fishery adhering to good management principles, with marginal impact on habitats and non-target species.

The current certificate is valid for five years, during which progress against the conditions set out in the certification requirements will be tracked and available for public review in annual surveillance audits.

The fishery has committed to take action to meet eight conditions to improve some aspects of the fishery up to the international best practice level. This includes ensuring that management of the fishery is improved to establish reference points and a harvest strategy including harvest control rules. The fishery has also implemented a management strategy that ensures the fishery does not slow down the recovery and rebuilding of retained species.

In undertaking the assessment the client group was provided with technical and financial assistance from the EU-funded DevFish 2 project managed by the Forum Fisheries Agency and the Secretariat for the Pacific Community.

The assessment has been strongly supported by the Fiji Government through the Fisheries Division, especially in ensure appropriate fishery management conditions are in place.

MSC maintains the most widely respected and accepted global standard for the certification of wild capture seafood. The program is based on a rigorous science-based standard and independent, third-party assessment by internationally accredited certification bodies.

TheFishSite News Desk

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