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63% of the catches of the Spanish tuna fleet already have MSC certification

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Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 00:20 (GMT + 9)

A further 17% are under evaluation and the fleet expects to obtain the blue seal before the end of the year

63% of the Spanish tuna purse seine fleet's tropical tuna catches already have the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue seal and a further 17% are under evaluation with the expectation of obtaining it this year. Our fleet has achieved this percentage (63%) after the certification of the Eastern Pacific skipjack tuna stock, so that this seal already supports the environmental sustainability of seven of the 13 stocks it catches, which translates into 240,000 tons of annual certified tropical tuna.

According to Julio Morón, managing director of OPAGAC/AGAC 1, “these figures demonstrate that the future of fishing resources requires a model of professional action that, based on scientific rigor, allows real decisions to be made that guarantee their good condition. In this sense, this new certification – adds Morón – is an excellent example of the effectiveness of a fisheries management model based on Regional Fisheries Organizations, compliance with their measures on resources by the countries and fleets that operate them. integrate and the proactivity of the latter to minimize their impact on the environment.”

With the certification of the Eastern Pacific skipjack tuna stock, the Spanish tuna vessels grouped in OPAGAC/AGAC have become the first fishery in the world to manage to certify this species in three oceanic regions (Western and Eastern Pacific and Indian Ocean) of the four in those that are captured. The fourth, the Atlantic, is currently being evaluated for certification.

Skipjack from the Eastern Pacific is captured by 19 freezer tuna purse seiners belonging to the groups Albacora, Bolton Group, Servicios Atuneros del Norte, Pesquera Ugavi, Uniocean, Central Tuna Management Corporation and Txopituna, associated with OPAGAC/AGAC.

The certification of the sustainability of skipjack purse seine fishing is especially relevant given that 57% of the five million tons of tropical tuna caught annually in the world belong to this species because it is the most productive and registers a good status in all the oceans.

Comprehensive sustainability certification

It is worth remembering that, in July 2022, the tuna fleet established another milestone in the certification of the environmental sustainability of its activity by becoming the first in the world to obtain the MSC seal for 50% of its catches in the three oceans in which that operates (Indian, Pacific and Atlantic).

Specifically, for six of the 13 stocks it catches: yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) from the Eastern Pacific, Western Pacific and Atlantic; the skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) of the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean; and the bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) from the Western Pacific.

With the addition of the Eastern Pacific list, MSC supports the activity of a total of 48 tuna vessels in the three aforementioned oceans and in which more than 2,000 fishermen work, under the management of four RFMOs 2. This seal guarantees that your tuna comes from stocks in good condition, is caught with an activity that generates minimal environmental impact and is subject to exhaustive fishing control.

Like the previous ones, this latest certification has involved an evaluation process carried out by the independent entity LRQA (formerly Lloyd's Register) and has covered both the type of fishing with fish aggregating devices (FAD) and free bank.

MSC has particularly valued the 100% observer coverage (human or electronic) of onboard activity, as well as the reduction of impact on non-target species through the use of non-entangling FADs. It should be noted that both factors are part of the Code of Good Practices that our fleet implemented voluntarily in 2012 and whose compliance is verified annually by the independent scientific organization AZTI.

1 Organization of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna Vessels (OPAGAC) / Association of Large Freezer Tuna Vessels (AGAC).

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