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Attendees at this year’s 3rd Bali Tuna Conference (BTC) and 6th International Coastal Tuna Business Forum (ICTBF) events will be the first stakeholders to learn specific details of the harvest strategy for tropical tuna in archipelagic waters. Developed by the Indonesian authorities, this much-awaited policy is a vital component in the implementation of sustainable fisheries management. These consecutive, top-level events will provide the ideal platform for delegates to help influence its delivery.

Work on a draft harvest strategy and a harvest control rule for skipjack and yellowfin tuna in Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) 713, 714, and 715 began in December 2014. National efforts have been led by Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), the Directorate of Fish Resource Management, the Directorate General of Capture Fisheries and relevant stakeholders and progressed through several technical meetings and consultations.

“A lot of time and endeavor have already gone into getting the harvest strategy framework and the definition of the harvest control rule to the stages that they are now at. At this year’s Bali Tuna Conference and International Coastal Tuna Business Forum, the ‘Interim Harvest Strategy Document’ will be revealed for the first time. Because it will have consequences across the whole tuna sector, it’s very important that as many stakeholders as possible attend these meetings. Their understanding and engagement will help to ensure a thorough consultation phase, while the harvest strategy will show supply chains that Indonesian tuna is sustainable and managed responsibly to international standards,” says Trian Yunanda of MMAF.

In having a harvest strategy in place, Indonesia’s fishery managers will be able to act swiftly and efficiently within a pre-agreed framework to ensure that tuna harvests do not exceed acceptable limits. This will safeguard the sustainability of the resources and the consistent supply of fish to communities and markets. Once successfully implemented in FMA 713, 714, and 715, the intention is to replicate the strategy in other Indonesian waters and with other species.

In addition to the development of the harvest strategy, the Indonesian Government has identified four further tuna fishery priorities for 2018: improvements of the tuna data collection and the vessel registration systems; the development of a fish aggregating device (FAD) management plan; the development of electronic reporting systems; and revision of the regulations for tuna fishing activities on the high seas. Delegates at this year’s BTC and ICTBF can therefore look forward to an update on these important government policies. It will also provide them with a better understanding of the opportunities to connect these Indonesian fisheries with international markets and give them better insights of related social programmes and initiatives. The conferences will open with an official address from Honourable Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia.

“As Indonesia is the world’s leading tuna producing nation with currently 571,000 tonnes per year, not only do these two successful events provide an important platform through which we demonstrate the very important socioeconomic contributions that our tuna fisheries make, they also allow the Government of Indonesia to show the long-term support that it is providing to the tuna value chain. In addition, these events present the perfect opportunity for international brands and retailers interested in sourcing tuna from Indonesia to build relationships with local stakeholders,” says Trian Yunanda.

Taking place at the Padma Hotel, Bali, Indonesia, BTC and ICTBF are again being hosted by MMAF and supported by the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), the non-profit association that is committed to developing and supporting responsible one-by-one tuna fisheries and supply chains, and the one-by-one tuna industry body Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline Indonesia (AP2HI).

BTC and ICTBF were first incorporated into a single programme in 2016 – bringing diverse but interrelated sectors even closer together to ensure the ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development of Indonesia’s tuna fisheries. Leading international tuna brands and retailers who are looking to establish improved access to sustainable tuna resources will attend the events, where they will be joined by members of the commercial catching and processing sectors, NGOs and government officials.

Cooperativa Cañeros de Manta, an association representing the interests of Ecuador’s pole-and-line fishing sector, has become the first South American fisher’s association to join the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF).

Established in 2011, the organisation aims to safeguard the region’s traditional pole-and-line fishing method and its marine environment while also generating opportunities for additional employment.

This fishery dates back to the 1940s, but has shrunk considerably in recent decades as industrialized operations have come to dominate the Ecuadorian tuna fishery.

"Together with the Ecuadorian government, we want to build a bright future for this tuna fishery and the coastal community it supports. We are determined to strengthen and grow while raising the profile of our sustainable products in the international markets,” pointed out Augusto López Zambrano, president of Cañeros de Manta Cooperative.

In his opinion, by joining the network of IPNLF members and working with the partnership to achieve these ambitions will provide enhanced benefits to their fishing community.

Through its membership of IPNLF, the organisation joins a growing network of tuna supply chain stakeholders from all over the world that are supporting efforts to enhance the supply of one-by-one caught tuna, and strengthening the value that these fisheries bring to the communities connected to them.

Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF, welcomed the initiative and commented that while this partnership expands their engagement to a new region, the challenges faced by the pole-and-line fishery in Ecuador are similar to those faced by many other one-by-one fisheries in the world.

“Particularly the threat that large-scale industrial tuna fishing operations has on their long-term survival. Together, we will work to ensure that this traditional fishery is recognised as an iconic, sustainable, and socially responsible tuna fishery in South America,” Purves concluded.

Source: FIS

SPAIN : The Organization of Associated Producers of Large Tuna Freeze Vessels (OPAGAC) presented in London information on the operation and accumulated experience with its Tuna Fishing Responsible Certificate (APR).
 
According to the organization that represents the Spanish tuna fleet, since its launch a year and a half ago, this certificate is gaining ground as a world benchmark of good fishing practices, largely because it is the only one that considers the social and labour conditions on board .
 
The meeting to which OPAGAC has been invited is organized by the Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT), and includes the main international foundations focusing on the fight against illegal fishing.
 
OPAGA managing director Julio Morón explained in the meeting the improvements achieved by the fleet according to this certificate that is consistent with SALT's objectives of guaranteeing food security, labour rights and the conservation of marine biodiversity.
 
The APR standard, the only one of its kind in the world fishing sector, distinguishes those ships, both Spanish and foreign ones carrying out their activities while minimizing the environmental impact, complying with the different international control regulations and guaranteeing social and working conditions on board in ILO Convention 188. The latter is fundamental, in the opinion of the Spanish tuna fleet, to avoid the violation of human rights or practices such as slavery, human trafficking or child labour exploitation, which sometimes occur in ships from third countries.
 
"Our APR standard has aroused enormous global interest and can become the basis of a future standard of the European Committee for Standardization, which we hope will be a benchmark for the continental market to demand these standards for tuna imports," said Morón.
 
In the SALT event, the leader shared these details with international representatives of the fishing industry, governments and NGOs, with the aim of accelerating the development of innovative projects and solutions for the improvement of traceability.
 
OPAGAC currently represents nearly fifty purse-seine vessels operating in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans and captures 400,000 tonnes per year of tropical tuna, equivalent to 8 per cent of world production.

SPAIN The Spanish tuna fleet will invest EUR 3 million this year in the Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP), which is developed jointly with the WWF. With this figure, the global investment in this FIP, which was launched in 2017, already amounts to EUR 12 million. The objective pursued by the fleet is to achieve the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification for all of its catches, in 2021.

This year, the fleet grouped in OPAGAC (Organization of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna Ships) and the WWF will continue to promote the FIP in each of its three major principles. Thus, in relation to the sustainability of the stocks, they will encourage the Regional Fisheries Organizations (RFOs), in charge of managing the tropical tuna fishery in the waters where the Spanish fleet operates, to adopt Catch Control Standards to promote sustainable management of stocks in the long term. In addition, the training of the crews of the fleet will be encouraged through four new Best Practices workshops held in collaboration with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), at least one of them in the Basque Country and another one in Galicia .

Regarding the principle of environmental impact, the tuna fleet will continue to evaluate the effects of the Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs), in collaboration with the RFOs and scientific institutions. In this regard, OPAGAC will evaluate the results of its pilot FAD collection in Seychelles (FAD-Watch) program and will expand its participation in projects that evaluate the effectiveness of biodegradable FADs, such as the one carried out by the European Union, with the collaboration of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and the technological institute AZTI, in which the fleet has invested more than EUR 360,000.

Regarding the control activities included in the FIP, the objectives will focus on compliance with the reporting obligations to the RFOs, for which OPAGAC will promote its model, which includes the adoption of regional observer programs. It should be remembered that 100 per cent of the OPAGAC fleet is equipped, with the technological collaboration of the Spanish company Satlink, with Satellite Monitoring Systems (VMS or Vessel Monitoring System) and with human/electronic observers that record all fishing activities performed on the 47 ships of the fleet.

According to Julio Morón, managing director of OPAGAC, "our FIP is the first initiative in the world that comprehensively addresses a sustainable management of tuna. The fact that we can market our fishing products as a FIP product means that consumers can opt for a food made from raw materials that come from a fleet that is actively working for its sustainability. During this second year of the project, we will continue advancing with our mind set on this key objective".

First year of the FIP: above expectations

After its first year of life, the FIP of OPAGAC and WWF has become the initiative of this type within the most complete tropical tuna fishing in the world, by including the three target species of this listed fishery (skipjack tuna or SKJ). , yellowfin tuna (YFT) and bigeye (bigeye tuna or BET) - in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans.

All the advances of the FIP during its first year of life have been above expectations. In fact, the project has used the MSC scales to measure its effectiveness and all the scores obtained exceed them in the four RFOs (IATTC, WCPFC, IOTC and ICCAT), where the 47 ships of the Opagac fleet operate.

This evaluation has been carried out by the independent consultant Jo Gascoigne based on the 89 improvement objectives established for the year 2017, which indicates that the progress of this FIP is better than expected in all the oceans and for the three species. The advances in sustainability of the OPAGAC fleet are joined by the progress of all tuna RFMOs in stock assessment and the adoption of processes to establish catch control standards for tropical tuna stocks, while some of its members have improved in compliance with management measures.

Source FIS

SPAIN : The Spanish tuna fleet will invest EUR 3 million this year in the Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP), which develops together with the conservation organization WWF.

With this amount, the global investment in this FIP, which was launched in 2017, already amounts to EUR 12 million.

The purpose of this project is for the fleet of the Organization of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna Vessels (OPAGAC) to achieve the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for 100 percent of their tuna catches before 2021.

This year, the fleet grouped in OPAGAC and WWF will continue to promote the FIP in each of its three major principles.

Regarding the stocks, sustainability, they will encourage the regional fisheries organizations (RFOs) in charge of managing the tropical tuna fishery in the waters where the Spanish fleet works, to adopt Catch Control (HCR) regulations to promote a sustainable management of stocks in the long term. In addition, the training of the fleet crews will be encouraged, for which four new Best Practices workshops will be held in collaboration with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), at least one of them in the Basque Country and another in Galicia.

Regarding the principle of environmental impact, the tuna fleet will continue to evaluate the effects of fish aggregation devices (FAD), in collaboration with the RFOs and scientific institutions.

Regarding the control activities included in the FIP, the objectives will focus on compliance with information obligations to the RFOs, for which OPAGAC will promote its model, which includes the adoption of regional observer programs. It should be remembered that 100 percent of the OPAGAC fleet is equipped, with the technological collaboration of the Spanish company Satlink, with satellite tracking systems (VMS) and with human / electronic observers that record all the fishing activities carried out in the 47 boats of the fleet.

"Our FIP is the first initiative in the world that comprehensively addresses the sustainable management of tuna," says Julio Morón, managing director of OPAGAC. "The fact that we can market our fishing as an FIP product implies that consumers can opt for a food made from raw materials that come from a fleet that is actively working for its sustainability. During this second year of the project, we will continue advancing with our mind set on this primordial objective ".

After its first year of life, the FIP of OPAGAC and WWF has become the initiative of its kind in the most complete tropical tuna fishing in the world, including the three target species of this fishery -skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna- in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans.

According to OPAGAC, all the advances of the FIP during its first year of life have been above expectations.

Source: FIS

The country's largest tuna processing plant will be built in Hutan Melintang, in Bagan Datuk District, Perak, in the near future.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said 8.1 hectares of land near the Sungai Bernam estuary had been identified for the construction of the plant.

"My friends from the Fishermen's Association suggested to open a tuna factory in Hutan Melintang. I agreed for Malaysia's largest tuna factory to be built in Hutan Melintang.

"I have discussed with the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority and 20 acres (8.1 hectares) of land will be developed in Bagan Hutan Melintang," he said in his speech at a dinner held in conjunction with the 35th anniversary of the Hutan Melintang Hai Suah Association (1983) and Chinese New Year Celebration.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Bagan Datuk MP said the factory would provide employment opportunities to about 2,000 locals, especially residents of Bagan Datuk.

He said Perak contributed 25 per cent of the country's total marine catches, part of which was from Bagan Hutan Melintang.
 

Source: Bernama

More than 12,000 fishermen will start the tuna capture in the Mexican territorial sea of ​​the Pacific Ocean and foreign jurisdictional waters that are in the area of ​​regulation of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), starting on January 20, when it concludes the ban period.

The species that are caught in this area are yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), bluefin (Thunnus orientalis) and skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis).

The tuna fishery is very important for Mexico because of its contribution to the food sector and the regional economy, since this activity generates around 70,000 jobs, direct and indirect, as well as more than 100,000 tonnes of products with high nutritional value.

Due to its volume and value, the tuna fishery is positioned in the second place of the fishing production in Mexico, the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (CONAPESCA) highlights. It is also one of the most sustainable, a feature that has been recognized by FAO when it awarded the Margarita Lizárraga Medal to Sustainable Fishing, and recently the certification to the national fleet of this fishery, by the Marine Stewardship Council ( MSC).

According to preliminary figures from the IATTC, from January 1 to December 3, 2017, the Mexican tuna fleet caught 109,533 tonnes of tuna in the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean, representing 18.5 percent of the total catches in that area.

Source: FIS

Tuna capture. (Photo: SAGARPA)

NEW ZEALAND -

The conservationist organization WWF, in partnership with several companies, will introduce into the Pacific Islands tuna industry, a revolutionary technology that can help eradicate illegal fishing and human rights abuses.

The project, which is the first of its kind in the region, involves WWF New Zealand, WWF Australia and WW Fiyi, together with the technology innovation company ConsenSys, the information and communications technology (ICT) implementer TraSeable and the fishing and processing company of tuna Sea Quest Fiji Ltd.

The Blockchain Traceability Project traces fish from fishing vessels to supermarkets using digital technology in the fresh and frozen tuna sectors of the western and central Pacific region. This way, it helps to strengthen the supply chain management.

According to the executive director of WWF New Zealand, Livia Esterhazy, this project will drastically improve people`s lives and protect the environment through smart and sustainable fisheries.

Using a smart phone application, consumers will be able to scan tuna packaging to find out where the fish was caught, what fishing vessel did it, and what methods of capture were employed. The "Blockchain" technology will ensure that people buy legally caught tuna, which is not the product of slave labor or oppressive conditions.

Currently, the purchase and sale of Pacific tuna is tracked through paper records or not registered at all. Now, on the other hand, fishermen can register their catch on the blockchain through radio-frequency identification (RFID) e-tagging and scanning fish.

Now steps are underway to find a retailer to partner in the project and use blockchain to complete the tuna’s traceability story. 

ConsenSys, one of the leaders in the development of blockchain technology, is working with WWF and Sea Quest to test and implement the traceability tool of the Viant platform in the supply chain of the Pacific tuna industry.

Tyler Mulvihill, co-founder and head of business development at Viant.io, said that they are interested in supporting technology applications that offer an opportunity for a positive social impact. He also emphasized his enthusiasm to continue working with WWF and Sea Quest Fiji.

For his part, Brett Haywood, CEO of Sea Quest Fiji, said that this project provides a unique opportunity to take the industry to higher levels, and highlighted his satisfaction to work with the three WWF offices.

TraSeable Solutions CEO, Ken Katafono, also expressed his enthusiasm to provide technical support to this project, given that he considers that it will transform the traceability of the seafood supply chain in the Pacific and also around the world.

Ishihara Marine Products Co. Ltd. has entered its pole-and-line skipjack and albacore tuna fisheries for assessment against the MSC Fisheries Standard. This company caught 1,780 metric tonnes of skipjack and albacore tuna in 2016.

This assessment will be carried out by independent assessment body ME Certification Ltd, a Control Union company. 

The fishery is assessed against the three core principles of the MSC Standard: stock health, impact on the marine environment and management of the fishery.

Ishihara Marine Products Co., Ltd. was established in Yaizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture in 1964, and has supplied fresh and processed tuna to the market for over half a century. While devoting itself to expanding its business by creating new fishery products, Ishihara has also committed to be environmentally friendly and make a social contribution.

Ishihara Fishery Executive officer, Mr. Katsuhiko Yoshinaga says: “We have continued using the pole-and-line technique in the skipjack and albacore tuna fishery since its establishment. In response to demand for environmentally friendly products, we decided to aim for MSC certification. If our fisheries are certified, we will be proud to market our tuna products as MSC certified. We’re happy to be taking this first step on a new journey.”

For his part, MSC’s Program Director Japan Kozo Ishii stresses: “I am truly delighted that Ishihara’s pole-and-line tuna fishery has entered assessment against the MSC Fisheries Standard. Japanese demand for sustainable marine products has been increasing. With the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020, this trend will continue. I hope that this fishery will achieve MSC certification and start supplying its skipjack and albacore tuna with blue MSC label. This will lead the further rise of Japanese consumers' awareness of sustainable seafood and help us protect Japan’s rich marine resources for future generations.”

Source:FIS

The latest report in IPNLF’s Technical Series evaluates fuel use intensity in the Maldivian pole-and-line tuna fishery and determines them to be fuel efficient.

Fuel Use Intensity (FUI), the amount of fuel used to catch a tonne of fish, gives a first impression of the carbon footprint of fishery products. Previous studies have estimated that marine capture fisheries used over 42 million tonnes of fuel, releasing around 134 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In spite of these big numbers, analysis of the fuel of specific fisheries is limited, with notable data deficiencies for small-scale fisheries and those in less developed countries.

In order to better understand the level of fuel use associated with one-by-one tuna fisheries, IPNLF commissioned a study to quantify fuel use in the Maldivian pole-and-line tuna fishery. Evidence was compiled from three separate sources: observer records (collected through the IPNLF Fisheries Observer initiative), government records and private processing company records.

The study estimates that FUI for Maldivian pole-and-line caught tuna was between 197-328 litres per tonne of fish caught. This is approximately 40% of the average FUI for global fishing fleets and slightly lower than data previously reported for purse-caught tuna. The report concludes that the Maldivian pole-and-line tuna fishery can be considered to be relatively fuel efficient compared to other fisheries. Other research points to tuna production as a relatively low carbon emitting process, particularly when compared to terrestrial forms of meat production. So, for environmentally conscious consumers, this, in combination with low levels of bycatch and minimal impacts on the marine environment, is further evidence of the low environmental impacts of these fisheries and another reason to select pole-and-line caught tuna products.

“I am pleased that the fuel use intensity estimates in the Maldives are now better understood. We are proud of our pole-and-line tuna fishery, one the cleanest and greenest fishing methods with minimal impacts on the environment,” said Dr Mohamed Shainee, the Maldives’ Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture.

“As a low-lying coastal state, the Maldives are already experiencing the detrimental impacts of climate change. As such, we are taking an aggressive approach to reducing our carbon footprint through our commitment to one-by-one tuna fisheries. We are continually trialling new technology aimed at making our fisheries even more efficient and sustainable through initiatives such as the Concept Vessel Project where we are experimenting with bird radars and on board fish refrigeration systems.”

Source: World Fishing

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