Albacore fisheries net MSC certification


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
March 28, 2010

Two North Pacific albacore tuna fisheries operating in U.S., Canadian and international waters on Monday obtained certification as sustainable and well-managed under the Marine Stewardship Council program.

Albacore tuna harvested by the Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation’s (CHMSF) troll/jig fishery and the U.S.-based Western Fishboat Owners Association’s (WFOA) troll/jig and pole/line fisheries are now eligible to carry the MSC eco-label.

CHMSF and WFOA fishing vessels operate across the North Pacific, from California to British Columbia and nearly all the way to Japan.

The fisheries produce between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tons of albacore annually. About 60 percent of the catch is exported to Asia and Europe, while 10 percent is processed by U.S. canneries; the remainder is sold in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

“Having achieved this certification against the MSC’s rigorous standards will assure consumers that they are buying a sustainable seafood product,” said Wayne Heikkila, WFOA executive director. “Members of the Western Fishboat Owners Association have long known that this was a sustainably managed fishery, but having it successfully reviewed by a third-party against the certification standard now provides us a great opportunity to promote our albacore tuna to local consumers as MSC certified.”

In 2007, the San Diego-based American Albacore Fishing Association poll-and-line and troll-and-line albacore tuna harvest became the world’s first tuna fishery to earn MSC certification.

Overall, more than 180 fisheries worldwide are engaged in the MSC program, with 67 certified. More than 3,800 seafood products bear the MSC eco-label.

Last week, the Eastern Canada offshore sea scallop fishery received MSC certification.

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