AAFA questions duplicate MSC certificate


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 23, 2010

The American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) is expressing dismay regarding Marine Stewardship Council certification of the Western Fishboat Owners Association’s (WFBO) pole-and-line and troll-and-jig albacore tuna fishery.

In a press release on Thursday, the Bonita, Calif.-based AAFA said it’s disenchanted that the WFOA obtained MSC certification as a well-managed and sustainable fishery in late March after the AAFA’s poll-and-line and troll-and-line albacore tuna fishery became the world’s first tuna fishery to earn MSC certification in 2007.

The AAFA, which represented 78 vessels and harvested nearly 6,000 short tons of albacore last year, questioned the need for a duplication certification, since the two organizations target the same fish using the same types of fishing gear.

“Throughout the original certification process, AAFA had extensive communications with MSC and WFOA regarding certificate-sharing,” said the AAFA. “AAFA believed that the fishery would benefit from efficiencies of operating under a single certificate. MSC actually approved AAFA’s certificate-sharing program prior to its implementation and praised its convenience and ingenuity. Regrettably, talks broke down when WFOA sought to transform the certificate-sharing program into a revenue stream.”

The AAFA said MSC certification of the WFOA fishery diluted its MSC certification and confuses fishermen and seafood buyers regarding pricing and availability.

“Questions remain as to what reason there is for a duplicate certificate,” added the AAFA. “It is certainly easier to get a certification for something that has already been assessed and certified. AAFA blazed the trail, did all the research and prepared all the reports. WFOA followed that trail and breezed through a repeat of the assessment on the back of AAFA’s hard work.”

Also in the press release, the AAFA reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability: “AAFA knows you have to go above and beyond with quality, consistency and service in order to succeed. And each of our fishermen is a very important part of that equation.”

The Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation’s troll/jig albacore fishery received MSC certification along with the Redding, Calif.-based WFOA in late March.

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