Micronesia’s longline yellowfin tuna fishery achieves MSC certification

The longline yellowfin tuna fishery in the exclusive economic zone of the Federated States of Micronesia has  achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.

Three Chinese companies pursued the certification and own and operate the vessels in the fishery: Liancheng Overseas Fishery (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd (SZLC), China Southern Fishery Shenzhen Co. Ltd (CSFC) and Liancheng Overseas Fishery (FSM) Co. Ltd. (FZLC). The fishery produced 745 metric tons of yellowfin tuna in 2016. 

"We are extremely proud to achieve this very significant achievement and to be a part of the MSC program,” Overseas Fishery (FSM) President Samuel Chou said in a press release. “We believe that, along with our other MSC certifications, Liancheng now has more MSC longline certifications than any other tuna fleet, and we remain dedicated to continuing our efforts to upgrade all our fisheries currently in fishery improvement projects to MSC status.”

The Federated States of Micronesia is composed of more than 600 islands in the Western Pacific Ocean, and fish and seafood products represent 95 percent of the country’s total exports. Eugene Pangelinan, director of Micronesia’s National Oceanic Resource Management Authority, which manages the country’s marine resources, said the certification represents a step forward in maintaining the country’s fishing effort as sustainable.

“Achieving MSC certification demonstrates our commitment to a sustainable fishery,” Pangelinan said. “We congratulate Liancheng for their achievement and we hope that this certification will generate more interest in joining our efforts to develop our longline fishery for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Worldwide, more than one million metric tons of tuna caught per year is MSC certified, representing around 25 percent of the global tuna catch, according to MSC Oceania Program Director Anne Gabriel.

“Certification of this Pacific tuna fishery is welcome news as it represents growing supply and demand for MSC certified sustainable tuna towards long term resilient and healthy oceans,” Gabriel said. “The fishery will continue to make improvements to meet the conditions set for it to remain certified. As an international science and evidence-based program, the MSC is an effective mechanism in transforming fisheries around the world to sustainable practices, while ensuring there is growing market demand to incentivize positive change on the waters.”

The assessment was completed by auditor Control Union Pesca, and involved an in-country visit, stakeholder consultations, and extensive review of the fishery’s stock status, environmental impact, and management, according to MSC. It will continue to receive an annual surveillance audit, as do the more than 350 other MSC-certified fisheries worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Oceana


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