Another Tri Marine tuna fishery achieves MSC certification
The Marine Stewardship Council has announced that the Solomon Islands skipjack and yellowfin tuna purse seine and pole-and-line fishery has achieved MSC certification, signifying ongoing adherence to the organization’s sustainability standards.
The certification process was initiated by Tri Marine and its subsidiary National Fisheries Developments (NFD), which last month also achieved MSC certification for free school skipjack and yellowfin caught by American Samoan-based purse seine vessels in the Western and Central Pacific beyond the waters of the Partners to the Nauru Agreement.
“This most recent certification provides well-deserved public recognition of the Solomon Islands’ efforts to sustainably manage their purse seine and pole and line tuna fisheries and helps maximize the value of tuna caught and processed in the country,” Tri Marine Director of Environmental Policy Matthew Owens said.
Certification firm MRAG Americas agreed that the Solomon Islands fishery will continue to be managed in a way that ensures healthy stocks, minimizing environmental impacts and promoting good management. The existing regulatory structure for the fishery, which includes overlapping national and regional regulations including the Solomon Islands Tuna Management and Development Plan and the Parties to the Nauru Agreement Vessel Day Scheme, and a framework set by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, encourages sound management, MSC said in a press release.
“It is very positive to see more tuna fishing fleets in the Western Central Pacific achieving MSC certification,” MSC global fisheries coordinator Jim Humphreys said. “This achievement demonstrates the investment that these fisheries are making in science, management and supply chains. They meet the world’s most credible standard for sustainable fishing which reflects international best practices.”
To maintain its MSC certification, Tri Marine must continue to adhere to several conditions, including carrying observers on their participating fishing to ensure regulatory compliance. Tri Marine must also following an action plan implementing harvest control rules and adhere to documentation and evaluation standards, MSC said. In addition, Tri Marine must continue to ensure the certified tuna is kept separate from non-certified product at all stages along the supply chain.
In exchange, Tri Marine will be allowed to sell its certified tuna with the blue MSC label.
Currently, the Solomon Islands fishery that just achieved certification represents about 25,000 to 30,000 metric tons of skipjack and yellowfin annually. Most of the fish caught as part of the fishery are processed by SolTuna in Noro, in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Together, NFD and SolTuna employ more than 2,000 Solomon Islanders and sells products nationally as well as in Europe and throughout the Pacific region, MSC said.
“The certification is a big achievement and a reflection of our efforts and commitment to ensure our fisheries are managed to agreed global standards for sustainability. We will continue to work together with all of our stakeholders to ensure the MSC certification of our fisheries is maintained into the future,” Permanent Secretary of Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Christian Ramofafia said.
Globally, around 842,000 metric tons of tuna caught in 2015 was eligible to be certified by MSC, representing 16 percent of total tuna catches. Demand for MSC-certified tuna is particularly important in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the organization said.