SPAIN: The Spanish tuna fleet has launched the process to certify as sustainable all its fisheries in the three oceans in which it operates (Pacific, Indian and Atlantic) and for the three species it catches (yellowfin, skipjack and bigeye).
The objective of the fleet, grouped in OPAGAC, is to obtain the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, for which it will evaluate this organism and certify a large part of its catches of tropical tunas, amounting to 380,000 tons per year, which represents 8 per cent of the world's production.
To undertake this project, a pioneer in its genre, OPAGAC has hired the services of the accredited certification body Lloyd's Register, which will evaluate the fishery according to the three principles of the MSC environmental standard. Forecasts suggest that the results of the analysis of certifiable Evaluation Units will be released in July.
This objective of the fleet is a consequence of the Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) that OPAGAC has been developing in collaboration with WWF since 2016, whose objective is to certify with MSC the 12 stocks that fish their vessels. It should be remembered that the Spanish OPAGAC fleet committed during the Our Ocean international conference in 2017 to obtain the MSC certification for all its catches by 2021.
"For years, fishermen have been clear that a fishery that is not sustainable has no future and we want to meet the objective of our FIP and the commitment to carry out a sustainable and responsible fishing activity," says OPAGAC Managing Director Julio Morón.
According to Laura Rodríguez Zugasti, Director of MSC for Spain and Portugal, "in the MSC Seafood Futures Forum, the main theme will be how to accelerate the change to end overfishing. OPAGAC, through the important progress in the fisheries improvement project and now with the decision to move towards certification in three oceans, is contributing to accelerate the change in the global tuna sector. It is a great satisfaction for the MSC office in Spain that the Spanish tuna fleet assumes the leadership in the global action for sustainable fishing."
For her part, Polly Burns, fishing manager at Lloyd's Register, stressed that "this is the largest tuna fleet in the world that requests MSC certification at this scale, which demonstrates OPAGAC's commitment to sustainable practices and management of fisheries," and expressed her satisfaction to work with them.
OPAGAC will announce on Wednesday the start of the certification process in the Seafood Futures Forum of MSC within the Seafood Expo Global of Brussels, which focuses on accelerating changes to advance with non-certified fisheries, including instruments such as FAD.