First Indian Ocean tuna fishery certified sustainable

Posted on November, 26 2012

WWF congratulates the Maldives Pole and Line Skipjack Fishery for becoming the first Indian Ocean tuna fishery to receive MSC certification.
WWF congratulates the Maldives Pole and Line Skipjack Fishery today for becoming the first Indian Ocean tuna fishery to receive certification according to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards. WWF has been an active supporter of the Maldives aspirations for certification, as well as an active player throughout the whole assessment and accreditation process.

"Maldivians take pride in their skipjack pole-and-line fishery – a sustainable fishery which thrived over the last millennium, by catching tuna one by one. The fishery forms the only viable source of employment and livelihood for more than 20,000 fishermen and their families." said Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Minister of State for Fisheries and Agriculture of the Maldives.

"Maldivians are grateful and delighted that at last the world has recognized, through open and transparent scrutiny, the sustainable nature of our fishery, a fact that we have known always. We have had no doubt whatsoever that our pole-and-line skipjack tuna fishery deserves the benefits of MSC certification."

"We are confident that we can bridge the challenges ahead. We thank all stakeholders, the MSC and our Conformity Assessment Body. We look forward working with all the stakeholders in implementing our Action Plan. We are very excited. The MSC sustainability certification of our pole-and-line fishery is a big achievement for a small nation like us." Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan concluded.

“Certification of this fishery constitutes an example of the benefits of improved governance focused on sustainability. The recent formal adoption of the precautionary approach by IOTC member States, led by Maldives, was a clear step towards strengthening management of tuna in the Indian Ocean. This is a positive incentive for the IOTC members to continue tackling the challenges that still remain”. Mr Alejandro Anganuzzi, Executive Secretary of Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) commented.

Approximately 25 per cent of skipjack tuna catches in the Indian Ocean are made using the pole and line method and the majority of this catch comes from the Maldives.

MSC certification is considered by WWF as a good incentive to drive tuna fisheries towards sustainable fisheries management. The Maldives Pole and Line Skipjack Fishery has been certified with eight conditions that must be met within the next five years to ensure the fishery is continuing to function sustainably. As the certified fishery seeks to meet conditions of assessment, this should result in improved management at the national level and at the IOTC level.

“We admire the Maldives for taking a leadership role in driving sustainable management of tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean, and for their commitment to improve the management of the Indian Ocean skipjack fishery through their strong participation in the IOTC,” said Daniel Suddaby, Tuna Manager, WWF´s Smart Fishing Initiative.

“The certification of this fishery will help to make the Indian Ocean’s commercial fisheries more economically and environmentally sustainable. We look forward to further working with the Maldives government and its industry to address the challenges and make sure that all the conditions attached to the fishery’s certification are met,”

“We hope that the Maldives Pole and Line Skipjack Fishery will serve as a trigger for other tuna fishing fleets to enter the assessment process for MSC certification. This could form a core group of countries working together in the Indian Ocean with the objectives and vision of fulfilling the conditions of assessment and achieving sustainable management for skipjack,” Suddaby added.

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