WWF congratulates Pacific Islands for certification of major tuna fishery | WWF

WWF congratulates Pacific Islands for certification of major tuna fishery

Posted on 10 January 2012    
Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) from Mabul fishermen delivering their catch to Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia.
© Jürgen Freund / WWF
Gland, Switzerland: A skipjack tuna fishery managed by eight Pacific Island nations has been certified as sustainable to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard, a move WWF says will promote the future health of tuna stocks in the region, bring major benefits to the fishing industry, and have positive repercussions for consumers around the world. 

The certification has been awarded conditionally to the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) purse seine free-schooling skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) fishery, managed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Convention.

The PNA free-school skipjack catch equates to an annual harvest of 275,000 metric tons – roughly the same weight as 490 fully-fuelled Airbus A380s - at a value of approximately US$1.3 billion at the retail level, with minimal bycatch of other species and juvenile tuna. Consumers, in the not too distant future, could see close to one billion 148-gram cans of tuna harvested from this MSC-certified sustainable fishery on supermarket shelves.

“The Western and Central Pacific skipjack stock hold about 10 per cent of the world’s tuna stock. This is the largest tuna fishery to have achieved MSC certification, a standard that will help ensure this valuable fishery can achieve a healthy state,” says Mark Schreffler, Fisheries Policy Officer, WWF Western Melanesia Programme.

However, Schreffler cautions that there is still a great deal of work to be done by the PNA, the WCPFC and its partners over the next few years to fully meet the conditions set by the assessment.

“The challenge now is the implementation of robust harvest strategies and reference points by the WCPFC in partnership with the PNA.  WWF believes effective, sustainable fisheries management of the Western and Central Pacific tuna stocks must also occur at the Commission level as well as within the waters of the PNA,” says Mr. Scheffler.  

WWF will continue to work with the WCPFC, PNA and member states to meet the conditions of the certification and help ensure that the PNA fishery can maintain its MSC certification.

The PNA has done much in developing a collaborative approach to more sustainable fisheries management that has significantly boosted their capacity to assist in managing the region’s tuna fisheries in a manner consistent with the MSC certification and their individual national development aspirations.

For further information:

Mark Schreffler, WWF Western  Melanesia Programme, Papua New Guinea
(675) 320 0149, mschrefflery@wwfwm.org

Daniel Suddaby, WWF Smart Fishing Initiative (Global Fisheries Programme)
+44(0) 207 221 5395 Daniel.suddaby@wwf.panda.org

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