Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association's albacore tuna longline fishery enters assessment against the MSC standard
The Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association's (FTBOA) albacore tuna longline fishery has become the first Fijian fishery to enter full assessment for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to MSC.
Independent certification body, Moody Marine Ltd, will evaluate the fishery against the MSC environmental standard for well-managed and sustainable fisheries, which examines the sustainability of the target fish stock, the environmental impact of fishing operations and the management and governance systems that are in place.
About the fishery
Operating across the waters of the Fijian EEZ, the fishery's 24 vessels use pelagic longline methods to catch 3,000 to 4,000 metric tonnes of albacore each year. These tuna are sold predominantly in fresh form to markets in Japan, USA, Thailand and American Samoa.
The FTBOA's albacore tuna fishery is currently managed under the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission (WCPFC). Under this international convention, Fiji is responsible for managing the fishery within its waters but must ensure that the management is compatible with agreements under the Commission.
FTBOA excited about prospect of MSC certification:
Secretary of the FTBOA, Russell Dunham says: "The FTBOA is excited about our albacore tuna fishery undergoing independent assessment against the MSC standard of sustainability."
"One of the major objectives of the Association is to facilitate and promote the sustainable use of tuna, and tuna related resources, in Fiji and the wider Western Pacific region. We see working towards MSC certification as an important step in achieving this goal."
"Achieving MSC certification would also be an important step in maintaining and expanding our buyer base, as markets are increasingly demanding tuna from certified sustainable fisheries," Dunham adds.
Assessment an encouraging step according to FFA:
Pacific Islands Forum Fishing Agency (FFA) Deputy Director, James Movick noted FTBOA's commitment to undertaking MSC assessment was an encouraging step forward in the region's search to enhance the sustainability of its fisheries' resources, while at the same time securing improved and distinctive market competitiveness.
"I commend the FTBOA for taking this step and urge government resource managers, international markets and consumers to recognise and support this endeavour, and to appreciate the earnest commitment of FTBOA and its members to the principles of resource sustainability and market sensibility," Movick said.
MSC welcomes the fishery into the assessment process
MSC Pacific Fisheries Manager, Bill Holden welcomes the fishery into the program saying: "It is great to see another tuna fishery in the Western Pacific undergoing assessment."
"Tuna is a major export for many countries in the region, and is therefore of vital importance to the regional economy. As such, we feel it is in the fishery's best interests to assess the sustainability of its operations."
"The FTBOA should be commended for undertaking this rigorous and transparent assessment of their fishing practices, and I wish them well with these endeavours," Holden adds.
"I hope this announcement will encourage more tuna fisheries in the region to engage with the MSC program," Holden concludes.
About the certifier
Independent certifier Moody Marine Ltd will conduct the assessment of this fishery against the MSC standard. Dr Andrew Hough, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, is leading the assessment team. Stakeholders with an interest in the fishery are encouraged to provide comments and information for this assessment process.
The MSC guide for stakeholder input is available online.