French tuna purse-seiner operator Compagnie Française du Thon Océanique (CFTO) has been awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for its Indian Ocean skipjack tuna catches.
The certification covers an eight-vessel operation based in the Seychelles and fishing in the EEZs of Seychelles, Mauritius, Mayotte, the French Southern Antarctic Territories (TAAF), and in international waters. The total annual catch for the fishery is roughly 30,000 tons.
“This certification highlights the changes driven by the company, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, NGOs, and scientists to improve management of skipjack tuna fishing in this area. This is a strong positive signal for securing sustainable skipjack,” MSC France Director Margaux Favret said.
The certification and assessment process was carried out by Control Union UK Ltd. and applies to purse-seine fishing on free schools of tuna and FADs, to be monitored annually over a period of five years. The skipjack tuna stock in the Indian Ocean is considered to be in strong condition.
The fishery has worked to minimize the impacts of fishing gear and FADs on the environment by limiting the number per vessel and working with scientists to develop non-damaging and biodegradable FADs, as well as reducing interactions with vulnerable species and training fishing crew to release bycatch safely.
To maintain certification, the company must address criteria set to improve working practices and the use of FADs to further limit the risks to sensitive habitats and endangered, threatened, or protected species.
The adoption of catch control rules by the IOTC on skipjack tuna and increased monitoring of fishing activities have helped implement better management of the resource. As part of the certification, CFTO agrees to continue its work with the IOTC to ensure that fisheries management is effective in the long-term.
“This certification is the culmination of several years of CFTO’s commitment to the sustainability of tuna resources. The planet and its biodiversity are precious natural capital that we must conserve for future generations,” Diek Parlevliet, the chairman of CFTO’s parent company, Parlevliet & van der Plas, said.