PACIFIC ALLIANCE FOR SUSTAINABLE TUNA RECOMMENDED FOR MSC CERTIFICATION IN FINAL DRAFT, SIGNALING EXCELLENT ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE
Today, in the final draft report, the Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna’s fleet of 36 purse seiners has been recommended for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, the gold-standard in sustainability certification for wild-caught fish. This recommendation follows a detailed assessment by the independent, accredited certification body, SCS Global Services, that included extensive review by science experts, peer review, and stakeholder consultation. Today also starts a further opportunity for stakeholder input as part of a 15 working day period allowing objections.
The recommendation for certification reflects almost 30 years of significant investments in careful stock management practice, gear and technology innovation, training and capacity building, and rigorous adherence to the international Agreement on International Dolphin Conservation Program (AIDCP), the most demanding and successful dolphin conservation program in the world and the only dolphin conservation program that requires 100% coverage by independent onboard scientific observers. The AIDCP, which was called a “phenomenal environmental success story” by the U.S. government, is a multi-lateral agreement with over 10 signatory members including the European Union, United States, and Mexico. Adherence to AIDCP makes the Alliance’s fleet one of the most observed fleet in the world.
The Alliance also takes a unique and rigorous approach to protecting tuna stocks, targeting mature tuna, a technique that protects juvenile tuna stocks more effectively than other commercial fishing techniques and which also minimizes bycatch across critical species including sharks, rays, and turtles.
Assessment to the MSC standard is part of a much broader sustainability strategy that includes ambitious commitments to protect tuna stocks, to further minimize the fishery’s impact on the ecosystem, and to advocate for strong, consistent regulation of the fishery.
Among recent important environmental commitments – in addition to the pursuing MSC certification – the Alliance voluntarily withdrew from fishing Pacific bluefin tuna, a species that is facing overfishing, for a period of 5 years. To date, the Alliance members are the only private companies in the world to make this commitment.
“Our members – Grupomar, Herdez del Fuerte, Pesca Azteca, and Procesa – are dedicated to providing ocean-safe tuna to their customers – and to continuing to make a difference for oceans,” said Mariana Ramos, Executive Director of the Alliance.
As part of actions to secure MSC certification, the Alliance will adopt one of the most comprehensive sustainability action plans in the history of MSC, including: catalyzing an ocean-wide dolphin population survey in collaboration with the International Sustainable Seafood Foundation, the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, and other stakeholders; voluntary quarterly public reporting; advocating for strong tuna conservation measures for national and international waters; adopting a Zero Retention and 100% Live Release program for sharks and rays; and many other activities. The full sustainability plan can be read here.
“Our members are driven by sustainability – and auditing by SCS Global Services to the MSC standard is one more way we can demonstrate to our customers that our tuna is fished in a highly sustainable manner,” added Ramos.
About the Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna (PAST)
The Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna is an alliance of Mexico’s leading yellowfin and skipjack fishing companies – Grupomar, Herdez del Fuerte, Pesca Azteca, and Procesa – that are committed to leadership in fostering strong healthy communities, promoting ethical employment, and ensuring science-based, sustainable management of our fishery, so that future generations will enjoy thriving oceans. Learn more at www.pacifictunaalliance.org.