Europe accepts responsibly-caught Coral Triangle tuna



Posted on 09 February 2010  | 
The first-ever Philippine shipment of handline-caught tuna with catch certificates successfully entered into the European market last week.

This first batch of fresh/chilled loined tuna caught in Mindoro, Philippines, came with catch certificates ensuring their traceability and verifying that they were from registered boats operating in legalized areas using highly selective fishing gear.

“This positive development comes just after the EU banned untraceable tunas from entering its ports at the start of this year” says Dr Jose Ingles, WWF Coral Triangle Programme Tuna Strategy Leader.

“It clearly proves that small-scale fisheries using responsible catching methods like handline tuna fishing can fare well in global markets through proper certification and compliance” adds Dr Ingles.  

The traceability system was developed and facilitated by the Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and approved by the EU earlier this year. These traceable tunas came from Mindoro through a project partnership with WWF, the local government, and the private sector, as a response to the stringent catch certification policy imposed by the EU in light of growing consumer demand for sustainable seafood products.

With this first shipment, it is now possible to trace back the tuna loins to the fisher, the boat, and the exact location of the fish aggregating device where the fish was caught.

“European countries make up the biggest fish market in the world, and with this catch certification system in place in the Philippines, we can look forward to an effective convergence of economic opportunities and environmental sustainability” says Dr Ingles.

Tuna in the Coral Triangle, which spans the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste, adds considerably to the economies of many developing nations and supports the livelihoods of millions of people in this region and beyond.

The Coral Triangle contains spawning and nursery grounds and migratory routes for commercially-valuable tuna species such as bigeye, yellowfin, skipjack and albacore, producing more than 40% of the total catch for the Western Central Pacific region, and representing more than 20% of the total global catch.

“This scheme is an effective step towards eliminating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU), which has been increasing worldwide, resulting in the declining catches of a growing number of fish stocks.”

ENDS
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Editors note:
-The Coral Triangle—the nursery of the seas—is the most diverse marine region on the planet, matched in its importance to life on Earth only by the Amazon rainforest and the Congo basin. Defined by marine areas containing more than 500 species of reef-building coral, it covers around 6 million square kilometres of ocean across six countries in the Indo-Pacific – Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.
-It is home to 3,000 species of reef fish and commercially-valuable species such as tuna, whales, dolphins, rays, sharks, and 6 of the 7 known species of marine turtles.
-The Coral Triangle also directly sustains the lives of more than 120 million people and contains key spawning and nursery grounds for tuna, while healthy reef and coastal systems underpin a growing tourism sector. WWF is working with other NGOs, multilateral agencies and governments around the world to support conservation efforts in the Coral Triangle for the benefit of all.
-For information on Coral Triangle go to: www.panda.org/coraltriangle  

For further information:

Paolo P. Mangahas, Communications Manager, WWF Coral Triangle Programme, Tel: +603 7803 3772, Email: pmangahas@wwf.org.my


Yellow fin tuna in fish market/Philippines
© Juergen Freund/WWF-Canon Enlarge

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