Maldives loses MSC accreditation for pole and line yellowfin tuna

Published on
April 18, 2016

Certifier DNV-GL has suspended the Marine Stewardship Council's certification of the Maldives’ pole and line yellowfin tuna fishery, effective 15 April, 2016.

The suspension comes following the recent release of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission Scientific Committee’s assessment of the species, which showed stocks in decline due to increased targeting from other countries and other methods of fishing.

“The IOTC reported that the substantial increase in longline, gillnet, handline and purse seine fishing effort, and associate catches in recent years, has substantially increased the pressure on the Indian Ocean stock as a whole, with recent fishing exceeding the maximum sustainable yield-related levels,” the MSC said in its report on the suspension.

Yellowfin tuna harvested by the Maldives pole and line fishery prior to the date of suspension and currently in the supply chain are still eligible to be sold as certified MSC products, according to the organization.

The Maldives’ pole and line fishery now has 90 days to come up with a corrective action plan to address the cause of the suspension. If that plan is confirmed, the fishery may regain accreditation if stocks of the fish recover. If no plan is created, the MSC certificate will be fully withdrawn, according to the MSC.

Also on 15 April, 2015, DNV-GL certified the Maldives pole and line skipjack tuna fishery as meeting all requirements necessary to retain its MSC certificate. DNV-GL took into account the IOTC’s assessment determining the skipjack stock to be in good health and not subject to overfishing, according to MSC's overview of the recertification.

The IOTC will consider crafting and adopting harvest control rules for the skipjack fishery at its annual meeting in La Reunion, France in May 2016.

“The MSC commends the fishery’s continued improvements and management effectiveness, and acknowledges their wider efforts to support sustainability in the Indian Ocean,” said MSC Global Fisheries Coordinator Jim Humphreys. “We encourage the IOTC to adopt the necessary measures needed to safeguard tuna stocks now and for the future.”

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