Bigeye tuna fishery gains MSC certification for first time
A Chinese-operated longline yellowfin and bigeye tuna fishery, located in the Federated States of Micronesia, has become the first bigeye tuna fishery to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification.
The fishery – owned by Liancheng Overseas Fishery (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. (SZLC), China Southern Fishery ShenZhen Co. Ltd. (CSFC), and Liancheng Overseas Fishery (FSM) Co. Ltd. (FZLC) – gained the certification after an independent assessment. The fishery earlier earned certification for yellowfin tuna in October 2018.
“We are extremely proud to have the first bigeye tuna fishery to be certified to the MSC Standard,” Sam Chou, president of SZLC, said. “It is a distinct honor. Liancheng is the largest Chinese fleet to achieve MSC certification. We are dedicated to achieving certification for all our fisheries.”
The latest stock assessment for bigeye tuna in the area shows stocks are healthy, and being fished at a sustainable rate. According to the MSC, the certification is conditional upon the adoption of harvest strategies including harvest control rules that include all the member states of the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission by 2021.
“We congratulate Liancheng and their partners for becoming the first fishery to be eligible to sell MSC certified bigeye tuna. They are demonstrating true leadership in sustainable fishing,” Bill Holden, senior fisheries outreach manager for the MSC in Oceania and Southeast Asia, said. “To maintain their certification, Liancheng will need to work with other fishing organizations and the WCPFC to agree to important management measures to safeguard bigeye tuna stocks. As a result, this certification could influence the sustainability of bigeye fishing across the entire WCPO.”
Liancheng’s yellowfin and tuna fisheries in the Republic of Marshall Islands are also undergoing assessment, according to the MSC. That assessment should be completed by the end of 2019.