FIJI and EUROPE - MSC certification has landed Fiji Albacore Tuna on the European stage: In a world-first, international seafood supplier Anova Seafood has brought the first MSC labeled tuna from Fiji to Europe.
Anova formally launched their Fiji Albacore tuna range at the European Seafood Exposition (ESE) in Brussels on the 23 April. Anova is proud, and they are not alone: ambassador for the Fiji Islands to Europe, Peceli Vocea, was present to introduce Europe to Fiji’s iconic tuna fishery.
More than 25,000 seafood professionals visit the ESE in Brussels from 23 to 25 April, and Unit Manager of Marketing & Retail at Anova, Hendrik Colpaert, is delighted to introduce MSC labeled Fiji Albacore to their range. “For Anova, this is a wonderful opportunity to announce the good news. After all, in the seafood industry, sustainably caught tuna has been long awaited,” he said. “There is increasing demand of consumers and professionals for sustainably caught and fully traceable MSC certified tuna.”
Anova Seafood will offer the MSC-labelled Albacore tuna from Fiji as of June in both fresh and frozen form.
Fiji Albacore Tuna Longline sustainability credentials creating jobs and accessing new markets
The Fiji albacore tuna longline fishery operates in the South Pacific Ocean in Fiji’s economic exclusion zone (EEZ). The 330 islands have a long history in fisheries: fish is central to the life of the Fijians. For three years, members of the Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association (FTBOA) worked to meet the MSC standard for sustainable fisheries. These efforts have ensured that their tuna has been eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel for sustainable fisheries since December 2012.
The Fiji Albacore Tuna longline fishery has reduced its environmental impact and generated employment for the people of Fiji, explains Rhadika Kumar, General Manager of Solander, one of the companies in the Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association (FTBOA). “Achieving the internationally recognised MSC standard for sustainability proves that this small island nation has world-class fishery management, it’s something we’re very proud of,” said Ms Kumar.
MSC certification of Fiji Albacore Tuna Longline and Chain of Custody (CoC) certification for their associated processing factory, Tri Pacific, has created new jobs for Fijians and opened up new markets for the fishery to sell their albacore as a premium product to Europe. “We’re the first Pacific tuna fishery to sell our products direct to Europe with the complete chain of custody in place. Before MSC certification, our Albacore would go straight to canneries but now we are able to market it as a sustainable, fully traceable premium tuna to be served as delicious steaks through Anova in Europe,” said Ms Kumar. The fishery is also receiving a higher return for this new premium product.
As tourism is the leading economic activity driver in Fiji it is important for the fishery to safeguard the natural biodiversity and marine life which keeps some 500,000 tourists visiting each year to snorkel and dive. Which is why every single crew member has been trained in turtle release and turtle relief gear is on-board every vessel. Turtle bycatch is less than 0.01 per cent and of the five turtles captured during assessment four were released alive.
The MSC certification gives retailers certainty about the fishery’s sustainability credentials. For years retailers have been asking for tuna steaks that are not only of high quality but also meet the world’s highest standard for sustainability. “These will be the first sustainable tuna steaks that perfectly match with the needs of the consumer in terms of size, shape and quality. There will also be sashimi quality tuna defrosted for the fresh market,” Hendrik Colpaert explains.
Anova will include the MSC labeled tuna in its assortment. They will sell tuna steaks within their brand ‘The Sea & We’, which focuses on sustainability. "This first shipment has as destination some of the leading retailers in Europe that, like us, have sustainability within the core of their strategy,” said Hendrik Colpaert. “We appreciate very much the efforts done by fishery Solander and processer Tri Pacific Ltd to get an MSC certification organised for their albacore tuna”.
TheFishSite News Desk