Second bigeye and yellowfin tuna fishery achieves MSC certification

Published on
October 10, 2019

The Marine Stewardship Council has announced that longline fishing vessels under the management of the Marshall Islands Fishing Venture that target bigeye and yellowfin tuna have achieved certification to the MSC standards.

Based in the Republic of the Marshall islands in the Southwest Pacific,  the fishery is now the second bigeye tuna fishery in the world to meet the requirements of MSC certification, after a yellowfin and bigeye tuna fishery in the Federated States of Micronesia achieved certification in March. Both fisheries are operated by Liancheng Overseas Fishery (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd.

“This certification is a significant moment in our company’s history and marks the culmination of five years hard work,” Joe Murphy, senior vice president of marketing at Liancheng, said in a release announcing the certification. “All four MSC-certified fisheries owned by Liancheng achieved certification as the result of fishery improvement projects. It has been a companywide initiative to ensure the sustainability of our primary fishing grounds and to offer our valued customers a consistent supply of MSC-certified sustainable tuna. We are extremely grateful to the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority for their unending cooperation and support during the process.  This achievement is as much theirs as it is ours.”

The assessment, performed by Control Union, found the fishery meets all 28 performance indicators required, according to a release by the MSC.

“These include measures of sustainable fish stocks, bycatch, habitat impacts, and effective management,” the MSC release sai.

As a condition of the certification, the fishery it trialling electronic monitoring systems on six of its vessels, and has committed to implement further monitoring – including additional checks and monitoring – by 2023.

“As a small island nation, the Marshall Islands very much depends on healthy oceans and fishing for our livelihood and the welfare of our communities,” Glen Joseph, director of the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, said. “MSC certification gives us the confidence that we’re fishing our oceans sustainably, leaving a thriving resource for generations to come. It also gives those fishing our waters extra market incentive to safeguard the environment. It’s a win-win.”

According to the latest assessments, stocks of the two species are healthy, and being fished at a sustainable rate. The certification is conditional to the adoption of harvest strategies, according to the MSC release.

“Bigeye and yellowfin tuna caught by this fishery in the waters of the Republic of the Marshall Islands can now be sold with the blue MSC label,” Bill Holden, senior fisheries manager at the MSC, said.  “This label means that the tuna can be traced back to a responsible fishery which has all the checks and balances in place needed to safeguard our oceans and seafood supplies for future generations. I congratulate everyone who worked to improve and demonstrate the sustainability of this fishery on this important achievement.”  

Photo by Anthony J Rayburn/MSC

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