APSSTN UPDATE: Tagged tuna in the Philippines guarantee traceability



Posted on 11 March 2014  | 
Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares)
© Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWFEnlarge
By Jonah van Beijnen
Consultant – Supply Chain Management
WWF – Partnership Program Towards Sustainable Tuna

With fisheries worldwide in decline and an increasing interest in Europe and US for fish from sustainable sources, traceability has become an important tool to ensure consumers and regulators of the legal and sustainable origin of your product. By being able to track and trace your fishery products throughout the supply chain you can furthermore guarantee the safety and quality of your product.

This is what the Partnership Programme Towards Sustainable Tuna (PPTST) is tackling. A partnership between WWF-Germany, WWF-Philippines, the German Investment and Development Corporation, and several partners in the private sector, the project implements a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for artisanal handline fishers in the Philippines who target yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) for export to Europe. The ultimate goal of the project is to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.

The project is implemented at 2 sites in the Philippines, Lagonoy Gulf, and Mindoro Strait, and includes approximately 5,000 fishers. At this time, approximately 400 fishers, 7 buying stations, 3 exporters, and 2 European importers are directly involved in the project.

Besides working on the organization of fishers for registration and licensing, and providing assistance to Local Government Units in fisheries management, the project also engages in activities to improve the quality and traceability of the landed tuna.

Together with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the PPTST project designed a traceability system adjusted to the practicalities in the handline fisheries. At the moment of catching, fishers tag the tuna using a specially designed tamer proof tuna tag.

Besides a unique number displayed on the tag, the fishers record its “name” and the time and date of catching on the tag. In addition a number of forms are filled in by buying stations and exporters to record every detail of the product, including temperature checks and quality analysis.

By doing so, the fish can be traced throughout the supply chain and Filipino handline fishers are able to guarantee their customers in Europe the safety and sustainability of their tuna!


Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares)
© Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF Enlarge

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