The Tri Marine Western and Central Pacific skipjack and yellowfin tuna fishery has achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for free school tuna caught using its purse seine vessels.
The Marine Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organisation established to address the problem of unsustainable fishing and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.
The Council puts its blue MSC label and fishery certification program on products that meets its standards for sustainable fishing. .
A press release from Tri Marine says this effectively expands the area of MSC certification in the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) beyond the waters of the Partners to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to include tuna caught in US territorial waters, the waters of several Forum Fisheries Agency member countries, and the high seas.
The result will be to increase the availability of MSC certified skipjack and yellowfin in the US market, especially through Tri Marine’s tuna base and processing facility in American Samoa.
Tri Marine owns Samoa Tuna Processors at Atuu.
The fishery will supply brands in the US, including Tri Marine’s own Ocean Naturals.
Products will be eligible to carry the blue MSC label as an independent mark of sustainability.
Matthew Owens, Tri Marine’s Director of Environmental Policy said, “We are proud to have pioneered the development of free school tuna products to create market-based incentives for environmentally responsible fishing practices.
“It not only provides positive recognition of our ongoing sustainability efforts, but it also boosts our supply of tuna certified to carry the blue MSC ecolabel.”
Independent assessors and expert staff from SCS Global Services, who produced the fishery’s 350-page assessment report, found that the fishery meets the MSC’s requirements for healthy stocks, minimizing environmental impacts, and promoting good management. Stocks of both skipjack and yellowfin in the WCPO are healthy and projected to remain so.
Each eligible vessel in the Tri Marine fleet carries an observer at all times to ensure that the fishery complies with legal and regulatory requirements as well as those of the MSC.
While the independent assessment team found that the Tri Marine fishery meets the high standards set by the MSC, it has required six conditions of certification.
In order to deliver these conditions, the fishery has put an action plan into place to gather more data on its impacts on sharks, deliver staff training, and improve stock management.
As with other MSC certified tuna fisheries, conditions also include requirements for well-defined harvest control rules.