ECUADOR : Ecuador has concentrated efforts on ensuring the long-term sustainability of the tuna industry, which is why the policies and actions developed by public and private sectors aim to achieve a healthy balance between sector growth and the preservation of the resource.
This was stated by the Minister of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Katuska Drouet, in Bangkok, as part of the 15th Infofish 2018 World Tuna Conference and Exhibition taking place in the capital of Thailand.
Drouet asserted that Ecuador's tuna offers its buyers the security of being a legal, declared and regulated product and that the industry, as a whole, has made investments intended to maintain the highest levels of quality and food safety, respecting and supporting the implementation of fishing ordinance laws as well as labour regulations.
The challenge, she acknowledged, is to introduce improvements in the value chain of the sector with the sustainable management of fisheries and improving their competitiveness with an ecosystem approach.
Among the actions taken, the minister highlighted the fact that the National Government and the tuna sector are promoting the Certification Program "Ecuadorian Tuna Sustainability" (SEA). This program consists of the implementation and certification of the Management System of the Code of Conduct of the Ecuadorian Tuna Value Chain, with emphasis on the development of guidance and control tools for each link in the chain, which allows national recognition. In addition, it seeks gradual homologation with global standards, which demonstrates the commitment and assurance of the long-term sustainability of the tuna industry.
"Together with the private sector, we are working to ensure the sustainability of this activity and, therefore, of the value chain, in order to strengthen its positive impact in the economic field as well as in terms of food and nutrition security. The current and future contribution of fisheries depends on numerous interactions between aspects related to the environment, development, policies and governance," said Drouet speaking to an audience of 600 business-people and experts from the sector.
Ecuador is the second country in the world in terms of tuna catches. Between 2014 and 2017, fishing reached an annual average of 280,000 tonnes, ranking the country in the first place within the Eastern Pacific, with a participation of 45.5 per cent, according to data from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC).
"The first point of the agenda of Ecuador is to maintain a development that responds to a healthy balance between economic growth and the sustainability of the resource," said the minister.
She also highlighted other initiatives developed by the Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and leading companies in the national market, grouped as Tuna Conservation Group (TUNACONS), seek to favour the sustainability of this fishery, allowing it to continue its exploitation while obtaining continuous improvements.
Ecuador's tuna exports generated USD 3,856 million between 2014 and 2017.