Gland, Switzerland – WWF commends the Fiji Albacore Tuna Longline Fishery. All for becoming the first in Fiji to achieve Marine Stewardship Council, (MSC) Certification. A move WWF says will continue to promote the future health of tuna stocks in the region; bringing major benefits to the fishing industry, and result in positive impacts for consumers worldwide.
So the MSC conditionally awarded the certification to the Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association (FTBOA) Albacore Tuna Longline Fishery. As well, the fishery is managed and regulated by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). In addition to the Fijian government.
Moreover, WWF South Pacific is an active supporter of the FTBOA’s ambitions for the MSC certification. They were also actively involved in the assessment process. The assessment against the MSC standard spanned 18 months. It was also conducted by an independent third party certifier.
The certificate is valid for five years. During that time, progress against the conditions within the certification requirements will be tracked. Additionally, they will available for public review in annual surveillance audits.
Certification benefits and maintenance
In addition, Russell Dunham is FTBOA Secretary and Manager of the Fiji Fish Marketing Group. He also said the MSC certification will create market benefits. All for the Fijian tuna fishery.
“MSC certification will help promote the Fijian domestic fishery. It will also promote Fiji’s role in asserting Albacore Tuna management measures. All as part of the conditions of certification”; said Dunham.
He also explains that the certification offers opportunities. All to develop new markets. Especially in areas where demand for certified sustainable seafood is already high.
The fishery is also devoted to improving aspects of the fishery. Consequently up to the international best practice level. This includes also improving management of the fisheries to establish reference points. That’s a harvest strategy and harvest control rules.
The fishery has also implemented a management strategy. It will ensure the fishery does not slow down the recovery and rebuilding of retained species.
Daniel Suddaby, WWF’s Smart Fishing Initiative Tuna Program Manager, adds “We enthusiastically support FTBOA’s efforts. Especially in seeking and achieving certification. In addition, we do reserve some concerns about the conditions put in place by the MSC. Especially which the fishery must meet in order to retain certification. The WCPFC and Fiji government must also take substantial actions on important management measures. I mean very soon to ensure the FTBOA maintains their certification.”
WWF is also eager to work with the FTBOA, WCPFC, and the Fiji government. The goal is to consequently assure that the Fiji Albacore Longline fishery can maintain its MSC certification.
Benchmark values help managers decide how the fishery is performing. It is often based on an indicator. That’s such as fishery stock size or the level of fishing. Scientists conduct a fishery stock assessment. All to provide estimates of fishery stock size and fishing mortality over time.
Reference Points serve as a standard to compare those estimates. It’s based on our understanding of the biological characteristics of the targeted species. Additionally, there are harvest control rules for the management body. The intention is to achieve a medium or long-term target reference point while avoiding reaching a limit reference point.
Albacore Tuna is an important commercial and game fish, highly prized for its white tasty meat. Markets in China, Japan and the US, largely sell the fish fresh or frozen.
Making up around 70 – 80% of the tuna catch recorded in Fiji, Albacore Tuna represents a large portion of the tuna export earnings.