First MSC-certified tuna fishery gets re-certified
By SeafoodSource staff
16 January, 2013
The American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) in San Diego has achieved Marine Stewardship Council certification for a second time for the North and South Pacific albacore fisheries.
AAFA members use pole & line and troll gears with barbless hooks to catch and land albacore tuna one at a time, there is no bottom contact and negligible bycatch as a result. In addition, because no nets are used, the fishery is dolphin free.
In 2011, the total volume of albacore harvested in the Pacific Ocean was approximately 11,700 metric tons, of which the AAFA accounts for more than half of the total U.S. albacore tuna harvest annually.
In 2007, the AAFA fishery was the first tuna fishery in the world to become MSC certified.
“When AAFA decided in 2004 to proceed with MSC certification, most U.S. harvesters and processors did not know what MSC was. AAFA knew it needed to tell the story of the U.S. pole and troll fisherman, its families, products and fishery. U.S.-harvested pole and troll albacore tuna had always been included in news reports of tuna in general. The difference in stock, harvest method, environmental impact, etc. was not made clear and this artisanal fishery was not defined,” said Natalie Webster, AAFA executive director.
“AAFA felt the MSC certification would allow the story to be told on the world stage and subsequently consumers would gain awareness of what makes this U.S. pole and troll fishery so remarkable. MSC certification allowed us a platform to tell our story and as a result we have developed new markets and brought much-needed stability to this historic fishery. AAFA is now, as it has been since its inception, a non-profit fishermen’s marketing association with the goal to preserve the U.S. pole and troll albacore fishery for this and future generations to come.”
“The recertification of the first albacore tuna fishery to become certified initially marks a milestone for both the MSC and the families who make up the American Albacore Fishing Association. Tuna is a staple for millions of consumers around the world and MSC certification assures them the product they are buying can be traced directly to an MSC-certified fishery,” said Kerry Coughlin, MSC Americas regional director. “In the case of AAFA, buyers are making a purchase that supports member families with a deep commitment to fishing sustainably. We congratulate the greater AAFA family on the ongoing sustainability of their fishery and hope it will continue to serve as an incentive for other fisheries worldwide.”
16 January, 2013