TUNACONS achieves MSC certification for yellowfin tuna from the Eastern Pacific Ocean

Five founding members of TUNACONS have achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for yellowfin tuna products caught in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

The Ecuadorian companies involved in the initiative are Negocios Industriales Real NIRSA S.A., Servigrup, and Eurofish, along with Panamanian firm Pesquera Jadran and U.S.-based Tri Marine. The certification covers 47 vessels between the companies and is the first certification for yellowfin tunas school fish sets and fish-aggregating devices (FADs) in the Eastern Pacific.

“This milestone as achieved by the purse-seine tuna fleet is very important news for Ecuador and for the world because Ecuador is the second-largest producer in the world of tuna,” National Chamber of Fisheries (CNP) President Bruno Leone said. “If Ecuador has a large part of its fleet certified, other fleets can follow these good practices and regulations existing from the requirements of the MSC certification. Let’s hope all of Ecuador can come together so all can eventually be MSC-certified.”

Ecuadorian vessels catch approximately 300,000 metric tons of tuna annually in the Eastern Pacific, and 80 percent of its processed tuna products are exported to international markets, with its top market being the European Union.

The companies worked together for three years in a fishery improvement project (FIP) in order to meet these certification needs and standards. In order to achieve MSC certification, TUNACONS had to prove it was maintaining healthy tuna populations, minimizing impacts on the ecosystem, and promoting organized and responsible management of the fishery.

To do this, the participating companies committed to a series of activities including the research and testing of degradable materials for FADs; monitoring and collection of information on catches and bycatch through onboard observers; Implementation of a code of good practices to reduce bycatch, especially of vulnerable species such as sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles; and supporting scientific assessments of tropical tuna populations and promote adoption of conservation measures with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and governmental institutions. These measures were implemented with technical support from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Ecuadorian government, TUNACONS said.

Photo courtesy of TUNACONS


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