Mexico Baja California pole and line yellowfin and skipjack tuna fishery enters full assessment

May 11, 2010 10:12

The Mexico Baja California pole and line yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) tuna fishery today entered full assessment in the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) certification program for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. The fishery, which operates in the Mexican Exclusive Economic Zone off the west coast of Baja California, will be assessed by an independent certifier against the MSC standard for sustainable fishing. If successful, products from this fishery will be eligible to bear the blue MSC ecolabel, reports with reference to MSC.

About the fishery

The fishery operates year round with most fishing taking place between late April and late December.  The two boats to be covered by the certificate operate out of Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos-more commonly known as Matancitas.  Landings by these two vessels have fluctuated over the years.  In 2008, landings by these two vessels totaled 555 metric tons.  Currently, products from this fishery are canned locally in Matancitas and marketed in Mexico.

The fishery client for the assessment is Productos Pesqueros de Matancitas, S.A. de C.V.  WWF played an important role providing technical guidance and helping this fishery through pre-assessment in 2008 and early 2009.  WWF also helped secure funding for the fishery's full assessment and will serve as co-client to assist during the independent assessment process.
What the fishery says

"We are hopeful that the eventual MSC certification of the Mexico Baja California pole and line yellowfin and skipjack tuna fishery will enable our fleet to help promote a responsible and clean fishery off Baja California Sur, Mexico, that has no negative impacts on the resources and ecosystem," said Salvador Montes, director general of Productos Pesqueros de Matancitas, S.A. de C.V.  "We have been in business for 50 years and we remain committed to both environmental responsibility and to our existing and future domestic and overseas clients who, these days, are requesting that we supply them with tuna products that originate from a sustainable and well-managed fishery."
What the WWF says

"The WWF-US Fisheries Program uses the MSC certification process as a tool to create economic incentives for sustainable fishing," said Meredith Lopuch, director of the Major Buyers Initiative, Fisheries, for WWF-US. "We partner with seafood businesses to gain their commitment to sourcing MSC-certified products, and collaborate with fishers, seafood industry leaders and governments to help the source fisheries meet the MSC standard.  Certification of the Mexico Baja California pole and line fishery for yellowfin and skipjack tuna would reward this responsible fishery in the marketplace and help provide incentive for sustainable fishing practices in similar fisheries around the world.  WWF looks forward to working with Productos Pesqueros de Matancitas through the full assessment process."

What the MSC says

"We are pleased to welcome this Mexican tuna fishery into the MSC assessment process and appreciate the assistance WWF has provided along the way," said Kerry Coughlin, the Americas regional director for the MSC.  "World markets are eager for expanded supplies of MSC-certified tuna and, if successful in gaining certification, Productos Pesqueros de Matancitas, S.A. de C.V. should experience high demand for their product, which would serve as a model for other smaller fisheries interested in sustainability and gaining MSC certification."

The Mexico Baja California pole and line yellowfin and skipjack fishery is managed by the Secretariat of Agriculture, Ranching, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) under the Comision Nacional de Pesca (CONAPESCA) of the government of Mexico and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).
About the certifier

Productos Pesqueros de Matancitas, S.A. de C.V. and WWF contracted with Moody Marine Ltd. to conduct the independent, third-party assessment, which is expected to take approximately 12-15 months.  A team of scientific experts will be convened to evaluate the fishery based on the three core principles of the MSC standard:  the sustainability of the fish stock, its impact on the environment and the management system in place.

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