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The 15th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference & Exhibition ended on a high note on the 30th of May, thanks to the magnificent support from participants (almost 600 representing all regions), exhibitors, world-class speakers, collaborating partners and sponsors.

 In bringing the World Tuna Trade Conference to a close, the Conference Chair Dr Transform Aqorau summarized the deliberations and themes that had been brought to the fore over the past three days. Underpinning all the discussions, he said, was the key concept of sustainability both above and below the water level. Innovation was another main idea that had cropped up over and over again, including innovation in markets, products, and harvesting. The development of partnerships was the third main pillar that has emerged in the Conference and in the next 5 to 10 years, these partnerships will affect a change in behaviour. He talked about the changes in market and consumer trends worldwide. One possible gap that he thought could be addressed in the next Conference in 2020 is the position of China as a huge potential market. He predicted that if the Chinese were to start eating tuna in a big way, the landscape could be different in the future. Social responsibility, gender, human rights abuses are other concepts which we have to keep discussing. Dr Aqorau also asked the question: What are the drivers of technology? Blockchain technology, for instance, is fairly new and likely to occupy an expanding place in the industry in the future.  For the moment, the business sector is making great strides in innovation but this has to be combined in partnership with governments.

On a final note, Ms Shirlene Maria Anthonysamy, Acting Director of INFOFISH, took the opportunity to express sincere thanks to the participants, speakers, and chairpersons for making the Conference a truly world-class event, as evidenced by the quality of discussion observed and information shared, as well as the level of networking and business matching that had occurred. She also thanked the co-organisers and collaborating organisations Department of Fisheries Thailand, Thai Tuna Industry Association (TTIA), IATTC, IOTC, WCPFC, FAO, ANFACO, INFOPESCA, INFOPECHE, INFOSAMAK, INFOYU, EUROFISH; ATUNA; UndercurrentNews, Intrafish , Platinum Sponsor MIFCO (Maldives) and the staff of INFOFISH.

 Chaired by Dr Darian McBain, Global Director of Sustainable Development, Thai Union Group  PCL (Thailand), this Session was entitled “Sustainability, Enboironmeht and Eco-labelling in the Tuna Industry’.

At- sea monitoring, a rapidly expanding  field where the latest innovations are taking place, was covered  by Mr Faustino Velasco, CEO of Satlink (Spain),  Mr Thue Barfod, Global Head of the Fish & Seafood Cargo Segment (Maersk Hong Kong) , and Mr Les Shortall, Market Development Manager , Inmarsat Maritime (UK). 

Satlink’s Sea Tube system and Machine Learning feature is able to estimate catches on purse seine and longline vessels, geofencing, as well as electronic monitoring of FAD activities, structures and materials. Conditions on-board are also able to be monitored, which aids in preventing human rights abuses at sea. Mr Velasco ended by stating the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration: technology + science+ industry.

Mr Thue Barfod spoke about the challenges the company has gone through until 2017, when it launched its Remote Container Management system. Added to its unique trade financing feature and blockchain initiatives which help to reduce the cost and time in keeping track of documents, Maersk promises customers security and simplicity (a one stop shop for shipping and finance).   

Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity covering ship and shore enables users of the technology to maintain modern on-board communications,  including distress calls, texts, emails, and the like; blockchain traceability;  onboard electronic observer and security monitoring ability; and keeping electronic catch records.  On Inmarsat’s ability to enforce, Mr  Shortall listed a series of benefits: tracking and monitoring; more effective enforcement; more informed policy making; safety of fishermen; smarter fishing; and fishermen staying connected to family and friends.

Mr William Kowalski, President, Hawaii International Seafood Inc (USA) spoke about new innovations, technology trends and market acceptance in the high value tuna category. Tasteless smoke (TS) and carbon monoxide (CO) product groups continue to experience the  most significant financial growth in the high value category. The key factors here are stringent food safety and new processing technologies such as gas flow needles, high pressure oxygen treatment, and special tuna loin boxes, which result in these premium products. There is a trend towards tasteless smoke (Canada, Australia, and NZ do not allow CO but will accept TS items). In addition, thanks to GRAS approval and the royalty-free status for TS tuna  in the US,  the prices have doubled as compared to a few years ago. In the frozen category, products treated with antioxidants have entered the market but these so far have not received the same high market acceptance as TS and CO products.

The discussion on blockchains continued with Alfred “Bubba” Cook’s presentation entitled “WWF & Blockchain. Technology and innovation is a fairly recent but vital focus of WWF, which explains its participation in the (ethereum) blockchain revolution to achieve a range of objectives, including traceability.  Using its  tuna blockchain project in Fiji as a case study, WWF utilises  RFID and QR codes to capture information throughout the supply chain, with the  data being  registered  automatically, which the consumer  in the end markets will also be able to gain access to.  Blockchains, according to Mr Cook, will ensure a safer more informed future for all.

Tuna byproduct utilization was presented on by Ms Rose Mueda, Research Associate, University of the Philippines Visayas. Waste from processing still contains good quality protein (about 50-65%); thus utilization of this waste is important. Examples include tuna jerky, pharmaceuticals and neutraceuticals, and protein extracts. In a University project, tuna jerky was found to have good market potential but for other items such as tuna sauce, histamine assessment has to be done. She ended by calling on research institutions to work together with the industry to find better ways to utilize byproduct.

An interesting overview of Pacific bluefin ranching in Japan was given by Mr Shukei Masuma , General Director, Aquaculture Research Institute, Kindai University (Japan). As at December 2017, there are some 177 farms, of which 60 use artificially acquired seedlings, the technology for which was developed at Kindai. He listed the benefits of these seedlings as contributing to sustainability; traceability from broodstock to end products; and food safety. Kindai will continue to focus on further development of rearing techniques to increase survival and stock improvement; and also to develop formulated feeds using less fishmeal, and reduced usage of antibiotics, etc.

Dr Arlene Nietes Satapornvanit , Gender Integration & Capacity Building Specialist,  USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (Thailand) spoke about gender considerations in tuna fisheries. Starting with a mention of the relevant gender-specific global and regional instruments, she presented an overview of the Partnership’s research initiatives including the results of analyses conducted at Bitung (Indonesia) and General Santos (Philippines). As expected there are few women at the decision making level and indeed throughout the value chain in all sectors (except as workforce) will help in developing gender sensitive-policies aimed at expanding the space at all levels for women in the fisheries industry.

The last speaker of the conference was Dr Valerie Allain, Senior Fisheries Scientist, Pacific Community (New Caledonia), who spoke about the impact of climate change on tuna resources. Elaborating on climate change models, she explained that ocean temperatures have generally risen by a few degrees. These changes will affect the distribution of all tuna species, as was demonstrated in the models which contrasted the situation now and in the year 2050.

Session IV

‘Sustainability, Environment and Eco-labelling’ was the theme for Session IV of the Tuna Trade Conference. Chaired by Mr Audun Lem, Deputy Director, Policy and Economics Division, FAO, the afternoon was enlivened with presentations by Dr Darian McBain, Director of Sustainable Development, Thai Union Group PLC (Thailand); Ms Ingrid Giskes, Global Head of Campaign , World Animal Protection/Chair of Global Ghost Gear Initiative (Australia); Mr Gavin Bailey, Director of Responsible Sourcing, Walmart (USA); and Mr Matthew Owens, Director of Sustainability, Tri Marine Management Company LLC (USA).

Dr McBain (“Staying ahead with sustainability : Thai Union’s Development of Fishing Vessels Improvement Programme and Vessel Code of Conduct”) presented an interesting case study on the company’s use of digital technology for traceability and as a means of having the voices of workers heard.

In 2009, FAO estimated that at least 640 000 tonnes of fishing gear is abandoned, lost or discarded in our oceans every year, said Ms Ingrid Giskes, whose presentation was entitled “The Global Ghost Gear Initiative Best Practice Framework”. The Global Ghost Gear Initiative was launched in 2015 to ensure safter,  cleaner oceans by driving viable solutions to discarded fishing gear. To date,  79 organisations are part of the Initiative.

“Charting the way ahead for sustainable seafood: why partnership is the new leadership” by Gavin Bailey was on Walmart’s focus of creating economic opportunities, ensuring sustainability in products and processes, as well as strengthening local communities.  Overfishing, IUU fishing, forced labour, health and safety, climate change, and food security  are some of the top industry concerns which Walmart shares. The seafood map followed by Walmart contains clear steps which guide the sourcing of foods so that consumers are assured of buying food which is untainted by labour abuses in addition to being sustainably caught .

Mr Matthew Owens, who spoke on “Transparency, collaboration, and the market for sustainability” spoke about various initiatives such as the Global Watch platform for the  sharing of VMS data, implementing a  Seafood Task Force Code of Conduct’ and addressing the evolving and significant problem of plastic pollution in our oceans  (mostly caused by discarded fishing gear and drifting FADs).  He ended by mentioning the increasing profitability for certified sustainable goods  in international markets.

The second day of the 15th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference ended with a panel discussion, entitled “Certification and Sustainability Efforts” . Discussants were Paolo Bray (Funder and Director of World Sustainability Organisation); Bill Holden (Senior Fisheries Manager Oceania & SE Asia, Marine Stewardship Council, Australia); Susan Jackson  (President of  ISSF, USA); Henk Brus (Managing Director, Pacifical, the Netherlands; Oliver Knowles (Senior Adviser,  GREENPEACE); and Sven Blankenhorn (SE Asia Fisheries Consultant, Fair Trade USA). 

Session III: Global and Regional Tuna Trade and Markets

In contrast to Session I yesterday which focused on sustainability, traceability and stock management, this morning it was time for the traders and marketers to say their piece on the status of international markets, imports and exports, present and predicted consumer trends, etc. To set the stage for further examination of international market access, the morning’s presentations were mainly overviews of the international markets by country and region. 

Mr Dave Melbourne, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility, Bumble Bee Foods (USA), (who was also the Chair of the Session) started with an overview of the US tuna market updates. Sales of frozen tuna in the US have doubled since 2011, and shelf stable seafood accounted for US$2.6 billion in sales over the last 52 weeks. Purchasers tend to be urban, mid to high income young adults (particularly millennials), and suburban small families which have driven sales of pouched tuna, sardine and ready to eat kits (currently they’re the smallest segments but also the fastest growing especially if you look at household consumption). 

Europe was covered by a few speakers, including Mr Juan Manuel Vieites Baptista De Sousa, President Eurothon/Secretary General, ANFACO-CECOPESCA/EUROTHON (Spain); Mr Henk Brus, Managing Director of Pacifical (the Netherlands); and Mr Walter John Anzer, Senior Consultant, Anzer Consultancy Ltd (UK).

Mr Vieites Baptista De Sousa spoke about the EU canned tuna industry, which is the 2nd largest producer worldwide, having an output of 361 207 tonnes in 2017. A main challenge for the EU canned tuna industry is to find ways to further enhance competitiveness of the product both in the Community and outside. Several factors were deemed important, amongst them being R & D and innovation (both in terms of product and process); environmental sustainability; social sustainability (human and labour rights, as well as quality); food safety and traceability; internationalisation (commercialisation of the products, exports, and investments in third countries); communication, education and promotion; and a level playing field.

Henk Brus posed questions to the audience:  how will the increased demand for tuna in the EU be fulfilled and where will the tuna come from, bearing in mind that in addition to tuna as a food  item, consumers in the EU want assurance on social ethics, responsible harvesting and certification.  He said that 20% of the tuna raw material sent to the EU comes from the WCP, which means that the greater proportion of the canned tuna consumed in the EU is therefore from other waters  where many of those stocks are considered overfished or are low.  

Walter Anzer then tackled the issue of the impact of Brexit in the tuna industry. From the logistics and administrative viewpoints,  documentations, EU approval lists, customs, regulations and others will need to be replaced. In the meantime, the EU Regulations covering food safety are likely to be in force until the end of the implementation period. He called on all participants to dialogue with their own governments on updates as to what changes there might be in terms of regulations and regulatory bodies.

Mr Arnab Sengupta, Director, Phoenix Group (UAE) then talked about the Middle East market for tuna, while Mr Tomohiro Asakawa, Seafood Trade Consultant, TA Pacific Co Ltd (Japan) focused on his home market, Japan.

Tuna trade in the Middle East has actually dropped in recent years so a major challenge is how to increase sales of tuna products in the region. Supplying the Middle East should be fairly easy in the sense that there are no tariff barriers, overly stringent checks or great concern with sustainability, but it is true that markets such as Libya which used to eat a lot of tuna are affected by conflict. Tuna purchases are mainly a habitual thing so that’s a good thing, but it can be seen as boring and as low cost protein. He spoke about opportunities in the Middle East, including  restaurant items (ready to serve pouch tuna), and  pet food (cats).

Moving on to Japan, Mr Asakawa spoke about the sashimi market in the country.  Taking the Tsukiji market as the reference point, he noted that both frozen and (to a lesser extent) fresh tuna sales have dropped over the past years, and prices of fresh tuna are usually higher than frozen. Meanwhile the scale of bluefin farming has increased from 137 to 175 farms in 2016, and shipments  of farmed bluefin were 13 413 tonnes in 2016 (10 224 tonnes in 2011). Interestingly, an increasing number of the ranched bluefins were raised using artificially acquired seedlings (849 seedlings in 2016 as compared to 244 in 2012).

Current trends in the Asia- Pacific tuna trade were elaborated upon by Ms Fatima Ferdouse, International Fishery Expert in Trade and Marketing. Fluctuating raw material prices are said to have adversely affected canned tuna consumption within the region but Ms Fatima opined that price is not the main reason for the plateauing sales. The reason seems to be that canned tuna is not a popular choice for SE Asian consumers and that there is presently  not much in terms of innovation to produce higher end niche products with different flavours such as the  tuna in lemon pepper which was recently introduced in the Philippines.

The huge Latin American market  was covered by Mr Dario Chemerinski, Senior Project Manager, Selecting Strategic Partners (Sao Paolo, Brazil),  under the interesting title “ Winds of Change in Latin America: How will post TPP-alliances , anti-populism policies and free trade reshape the tuna industry in the next five years?”.  He lauded the fact that populism is being replaced by more modern open trade policies.  Innovation is important, for example  the plastic coloured tubs of tuna for young people in Mexico; tuna in vegetable oil in Peru, ( more than 40 brands and easy peel cans in Chile), and tuna in hot sauces produced in Costa Rico.  With regard to the “new” TPP (minus the US) signed recently , he asked a general question “ “Is a new Latin era of cooperation with Asia coming?”  He suggested that the regional outlook ahead might include a rise in per capita consumption in several countries particularly Colombia and Argentina’ Mexico will be a centre of innovation, and Brazil will be a big market in anticipation of lower import taxes. Inevitably, China will be a main player in Latin America.

In the later part of Session III, market access and issues related to access were extensively discussed, from  FAD management to catch documentation schemes, fair labour standards, and the fight against IUU fishing.

Mr Victor Restrepo, Vice President/Chair, Scientific Advisory Committee, International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) (USA) felt that there is room for improvement in the monitoring, management and effectiveness of FADs.

The word ‘sustainability’ means different things to different people, he said. Referring to a new ISSF report summarising best practices for purse seine  fisheries using FADs, he walked participants through the MSC Standard Principles, selecting six factors in particular: Comply with flag state and RFMO reporting requirements ; (2) Report data on FAD use; (3)  Support science-based limits on the overall number of FADs used and /or FAD sets made; (4) Use non-entangling FADs only and promote the use of biodegradable FADs; (5) Develop a FAD recovery policy; and (6) For silky sharks, implement further mitigation efforts.

Traceability and accountability were further covered very ably by Mr Francisco Blaha, Independent Advisor (New Zealand) whose topic was “State Level Needs for Catch Documentation Schemes”; Mr Iain Pollard, Consultant, Key Traceability Ltd (UK); Mr Julio Moron Ayala, Managing Director, OPAGAC/AGAC (Spain); and Mr Roberto Cesari , Head of IUU Fisheries Policy, Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) , European Commission (Brussels).

The 15th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference and Exhibition started today (28th May)  in Bangkok at the Shangri-La hotel. You could almost see the excitement and buzz in the air  as close to 600 participants, including a stellar list of speakers, greeted each other, exchanged business cards, and toured the exhibition.   It seemed like almost all of the industry from all corners of the globe was represented, from harvesting through processing and marketing of tuna, as well as manufacturers and suppliers of every conceivable bit of equipment one could think of.

The Conference started with a small procession of dignitaries led into the Ballroom by children dressed in Thai royal court regalia, each one resplendent in silk and sash.

Ms Shirlene Maria Anthonysamy, Acting Director of INFOFISH then welcomed dignitaries and participants to the event and presented an overview of the theme (“Braving Challenges: Towards a Traceable and Sustainable Tuna Industry”) and the topics in the sessions ahead. Thanking participants for their presence, and the co-organising partners and sponsors for their support in making this important Conference a reality, she said that INFOFISH has the honour to provide a platform for the industry and that “this Tuna Trade Conference and Exhibition belongs to you, the industry”.

Next, the Conference Chair, Dr Transform Aqorau, presented a Special Address. He noted that he was honored to be the first Pacific Islander to chair a Conference of this scale and level  of prestige. He said that it was only appropriate that the Conference is themed “Braving the Challenges”, one of which is stock management and traceability, developments in communications notwithstanding. He said that there are still gaps which are difficult to monitor because of the vastness of the ocean and that many fishers are just simple stakeholders who just want to earn a living. Therefore any strategy must take into account the wide range of expectations from all quarters – the fishers, communicators, NGOs, RFMOs,   etc. He stressed that the industry has a big role to play in sustainability and social responsibility of the industry, certification, eco-labelling, IUU fishing and we need to work with each other to find common solutions to common challenges.    He posed some questions: what is the industry doing to reduce its carbon footprint related to climate change?  How should FADs be managed? Have tuna stocks reached maximum capacity?  How well can we manage stocks of tuna below the water? How well are we addressing IUU fishing?  At the very least, everyone must fish by the same rules.


Mr Jong Jin Kim, Deputy Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, of the  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-RAP) said it is clear that sustainability can be achieved only by government and industry working together with science based management. Fighting hunger while providing sustainable food is part of the Sustainable Development Goals 2and 14. At the same time,on IUU fishing, FAO is encouraging the international industry to sign and implement the relevant international accords such as the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) ;”together we can feed the world and manage our fisheries”.

HE Ana Katuska Drouet Salcedo , Hon Minister of Fisheries Ecuador, spoke about government and industry working together in solidarity in order to increase the economic impact of the fisheries industry. It is a challenge  as resources below the sea are finite but at the same time we need to  boost earnings, safeguard decent work standards,  and  expand the private sector. She said that Ecuador is a world  leader in fisheries and that “our brand – Ecudorian tuna –is world renown”, having its own certification programme which is in line with global standards.  She ended by saying that Ecuador is open to investment and discussions on collaboration.

HE Patrick Basa, Hon Minister of Fisheries, Papua New Guinea, then presented his Special Address. He said that RFMOs and flag states must ensure appropriate management measures to ensure sustainability.   Any discussion on tuna trade and markets must take into account where the tuna is caught, ie mostly in the Pacific region, and the way it is processed  and marketed. PNG has a robust plan to monitor  IUU fishing and  the government is also working on enhancing competitiveness of the country’s exports .

The Opening Address was delivered by Dr Juadee Pongmaneerat, Chief of Inspector General, Ministry off Agricuture and Cooperatives Thailand, representing the Hon Minister H.E. Grisada Boonrach who was at  an urgent Cabinet meeting. Dr Juadee acknowledged that although the Thai tuna industry is among the world’s top tuna exporters, there are challenges that the government is committed  to addressing such as the need to ensure that tuna and tuna products are of high quality and meet international standards; the need to comply with IUU regulations; and enhancing traceability.

She said that in terms of IUU fishing, the government has issued and implemented the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries BE 2558 and BE 2017 to enhance sustainable fisheries management. Thailand has also formally acceded to the FAO’s Port State Measures Agreement and the Convention of the Law of the Sea (1982). She hoped that through the conference, a common understanding can be created towards sustainable development of the global tuna industry.

Dr Juadee was then invited to bang the gong on the stage to declare the Conference open, as well as to cut a ribbon to launch the Exhibition.

Attendees at this year’s 3rd Bali Tuna Conference (BTC) and 6th International Coastal Tuna Business Forum (ICTBF) events will be the first stakeholders to learn specific details of the harvest strategy for tropical tuna in archipelagic waters. Developed by the Indonesian authorities, this much-awaited policy is a vital component in the implementation of sustainable fisheries management. These consecutive, top-level events will provide the ideal platform for delegates to help influence its delivery.

Work on a draft harvest strategy and a harvest control rule for skipjack and yellowfin tuna in Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) 713, 714, and 715 began in December 2014. National efforts have been led by Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), the Directorate of Fish Resource Management, the Directorate General of Capture Fisheries and relevant stakeholders and progressed through several technical meetings and consultations.

“A lot of time and endeavor have already gone into getting the harvest strategy framework and the definition of the harvest control rule to the stages that they are now at. At this year’s Bali Tuna Conference and International Coastal Tuna Business Forum, the ‘Interim Harvest Strategy Document’ will be revealed for the first time. Because it will have consequences across the whole tuna sector, it’s very important that as many stakeholders as possible attend these meetings. Their understanding and engagement will help to ensure a thorough consultation phase, while the harvest strategy will show supply chains that Indonesian tuna is sustainable and managed responsibly to international standards,” says Trian Yunanda of MMAF.

In having a harvest strategy in place, Indonesia’s fishery managers will be able to act swiftly and efficiently within a pre-agreed framework to ensure that tuna harvests do not exceed acceptable limits. This will safeguard the sustainability of the resources and the consistent supply of fish to communities and markets. Once successfully implemented in FMA 713, 714, and 715, the intention is to replicate the strategy in other Indonesian waters and with other species.

In addition to the development of the harvest strategy, the Indonesian Government has identified four further tuna fishery priorities for 2018: improvements of the tuna data collection and the vessel registration systems; the development of a fish aggregating device (FAD) management plan; the development of electronic reporting systems; and revision of the regulations for tuna fishing activities on the high seas. Delegates at this year’s BTC and ICTBF can therefore look forward to an update on these important government policies. It will also provide them with a better understanding of the opportunities to connect these Indonesian fisheries with international markets and give them better insights of related social programmes and initiatives. The conferences will open with an official address from Honourable Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia.

“As Indonesia is the world’s leading tuna producing nation with currently 571,000 tonnes per year, not only do these two successful events provide an important platform through which we demonstrate the very important socioeconomic contributions that our tuna fisheries make, they also allow the Government of Indonesia to show the long-term support that it is providing to the tuna value chain. In addition, these events present the perfect opportunity for international brands and retailers interested in sourcing tuna from Indonesia to build relationships with local stakeholders,” says Trian Yunanda.

Taking place at the Padma Hotel, Bali, Indonesia, BTC and ICTBF are again being hosted by MMAF and supported by the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), the non-profit association that is committed to developing and supporting responsible one-by-one tuna fisheries and supply chains, and the one-by-one tuna industry body Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline Indonesia (AP2HI).

BTC and ICTBF were first incorporated into a single programme in 2016 – bringing diverse but interrelated sectors even closer together to ensure the ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development of Indonesia’s tuna fisheries. Leading international tuna brands and retailers who are looking to establish improved access to sustainable tuna resources will attend the events, where they will be joined by members of the commercial catching and processing sectors, NGOs and government officials.

Cooperativa Cañeros de Manta, an association representing the interests of Ecuador’s pole-and-line fishing sector, has become the first South American fisher’s association to join the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF).

Established in 2011, the organisation aims to safeguard the region’s traditional pole-and-line fishing method and its marine environment while also generating opportunities for additional employment.

This fishery dates back to the 1940s, but has shrunk considerably in recent decades as industrialized operations have come to dominate the Ecuadorian tuna fishery.

"Together with the Ecuadorian government, we want to build a bright future for this tuna fishery and the coastal community it supports. We are determined to strengthen and grow while raising the profile of our sustainable products in the international markets,” pointed out Augusto López Zambrano, president of Cañeros de Manta Cooperative.

In his opinion, by joining the network of IPNLF members and working with the partnership to achieve these ambitions will provide enhanced benefits to their fishing community.

Through its membership of IPNLF, the organisation joins a growing network of tuna supply chain stakeholders from all over the world that are supporting efforts to enhance the supply of one-by-one caught tuna, and strengthening the value that these fisheries bring to the communities connected to them.

Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF, welcomed the initiative and commented that while this partnership expands their engagement to a new region, the challenges faced by the pole-and-line fishery in Ecuador are similar to those faced by many other one-by-one fisheries in the world.

“Particularly the threat that large-scale industrial tuna fishing operations has on their long-term survival. Together, we will work to ensure that this traditional fishery is recognised as an iconic, sustainable, and socially responsible tuna fishery in South America,” Purves concluded.

Source: FIS

SPAIN : The Organization of Associated Producers of Large Tuna Freeze Vessels (OPAGAC) presented in London information on the operation and accumulated experience with its Tuna Fishing Responsible Certificate (APR).
According to the organization that represents the Spanish tuna fleet, since its launch a year and a half ago, this certificate is gaining ground as a world benchmark of good fishing practices, largely because it is the only one that considers the social and labour conditions on board .
The meeting to which OPAGAC has been invited is organized by the Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT), and includes the main international foundations focusing on the fight against illegal fishing.
OPAGA managing director Julio Morón explained in the meeting the improvements achieved by the fleet according to this certificate that is consistent with SALT's objectives of guaranteeing food security, labour rights and the conservation of marine biodiversity.
The APR standard, the only one of its kind in the world fishing sector, distinguishes those ships, both Spanish and foreign ones carrying out their activities while minimizing the environmental impact, complying with the different international control regulations and guaranteeing social and working conditions on board in ILO Convention 188. The latter is fundamental, in the opinion of the Spanish tuna fleet, to avoid the violation of human rights or practices such as slavery, human trafficking or child labour exploitation, which sometimes occur in ships from third countries.
"Our APR standard has aroused enormous global interest and can become the basis of a future standard of the European Committee for Standardization, which we hope will be a benchmark for the continental market to demand these standards for tuna imports," said Morón.
In the SALT event, the leader shared these details with international representatives of the fishing industry, governments and NGOs, with the aim of accelerating the development of innovative projects and solutions for the improvement of traceability.
OPAGAC currently represents nearly fifty purse-seine vessels operating in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans and captures 400,000 tonnes per year of tropical tuna, equivalent to 8 per cent of world production.

SPAIN The Spanish tuna fleet will invest EUR 3 million this year in the Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP), which is developed jointly with the WWF. With this figure, the global investment in this FIP, which was launched in 2017, already amounts to EUR 12 million. The objective pursued by the fleet is to achieve the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification for all of its catches, in 2021.

This year, the fleet grouped in OPAGAC (Organization of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna Ships) and the WWF will continue to promote the FIP in each of its three major principles. Thus, in relation to the sustainability of the stocks, they will encourage the Regional Fisheries Organizations (RFOs), in charge of managing the tropical tuna fishery in the waters where the Spanish fleet operates, to adopt Catch Control Standards to promote sustainable management of stocks in the long term. In addition, the training of the crews of the fleet will be encouraged through four new Best Practices workshops held in collaboration with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), at least one of them in the Basque Country and another one in Galicia .

Regarding the principle of environmental impact, the tuna fleet will continue to evaluate the effects of the Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs), in collaboration with the RFOs and scientific institutions. In this regard, OPAGAC will evaluate the results of its pilot FAD collection in Seychelles (FAD-Watch) program and will expand its participation in projects that evaluate the effectiveness of biodegradable FADs, such as the one carried out by the European Union, with the collaboration of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) and the technological institute AZTI, in which the fleet has invested more than EUR 360,000.

Regarding the control activities included in the FIP, the objectives will focus on compliance with the reporting obligations to the RFOs, for which OPAGAC will promote its model, which includes the adoption of regional observer programs. It should be remembered that 100 per cent of the OPAGAC fleet is equipped, with the technological collaboration of the Spanish company Satlink, with Satellite Monitoring Systems (VMS or Vessel Monitoring System) and with human/electronic observers that record all fishing activities performed on the 47 ships of the fleet.

According to Julio Morón, managing director of OPAGAC, "our FIP is the first initiative in the world that comprehensively addresses a sustainable management of tuna. The fact that we can market our fishing products as a FIP product means that consumers can opt for a food made from raw materials that come from a fleet that is actively working for its sustainability. During this second year of the project, we will continue advancing with our mind set on this key objective".

First year of the FIP: above expectations

After its first year of life, the FIP of OPAGAC and WWF has become the initiative of this type within the most complete tropical tuna fishing in the world, by including the three target species of this listed fishery (skipjack tuna or SKJ). , yellowfin tuna (YFT) and bigeye (bigeye tuna or BET) - in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans.

All the advances of the FIP during its first year of life have been above expectations. In fact, the project has used the MSC scales to measure its effectiveness and all the scores obtained exceed them in the four RFOs (IATTC, WCPFC, IOTC and ICCAT), where the 47 ships of the Opagac fleet operate.

This evaluation has been carried out by the independent consultant Jo Gascoigne based on the 89 improvement objectives established for the year 2017, which indicates that the progress of this FIP is better than expected in all the oceans and for the three species. The advances in sustainability of the OPAGAC fleet are joined by the progress of all tuna RFMOs in stock assessment and the adoption of processes to establish catch control standards for tropical tuna stocks, while some of its members have improved in compliance with management measures.

Source FIS

SPAIN : The Spanish tuna fleet will invest EUR 3 million this year in the Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP), which develops together with the conservation organization WWF.

With this amount, the global investment in this FIP, which was launched in 2017, already amounts to EUR 12 million.

The purpose of this project is for the fleet of the Organization of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna Vessels (OPAGAC) to achieve the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for 100 percent of their tuna catches before 2021.

This year, the fleet grouped in OPAGAC and WWF will continue to promote the FIP in each of its three major principles.

Regarding the stocks, sustainability, they will encourage the regional fisheries organizations (RFOs) in charge of managing the tropical tuna fishery in the waters where the Spanish fleet works, to adopt Catch Control (HCR) regulations to promote a sustainable management of stocks in the long term. In addition, the training of the fleet crews will be encouraged, for which four new Best Practices workshops will be held in collaboration with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), at least one of them in the Basque Country and another in Galicia.

Regarding the principle of environmental impact, the tuna fleet will continue to evaluate the effects of fish aggregation devices (FAD), in collaboration with the RFOs and scientific institutions.

Regarding the control activities included in the FIP, the objectives will focus on compliance with information obligations to the RFOs, for which OPAGAC will promote its model, which includes the adoption of regional observer programs. It should be remembered that 100 percent of the OPAGAC fleet is equipped, with the technological collaboration of the Spanish company Satlink, with satellite tracking systems (VMS) and with human / electronic observers that record all the fishing activities carried out in the 47 boats of the fleet.

"Our FIP is the first initiative in the world that comprehensively addresses the sustainable management of tuna," says Julio Morón, managing director of OPAGAC. "The fact that we can market our fishing as an FIP product implies that consumers can opt for a food made from raw materials that come from a fleet that is actively working for its sustainability. During this second year of the project, we will continue advancing with our mind set on this primordial objective ".

After its first year of life, the FIP of OPAGAC and WWF has become the initiative of its kind in the most complete tropical tuna fishing in the world, including the three target species of this fishery -skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna- in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans.

According to OPAGAC, all the advances of the FIP during its first year of life have been above expectations.

Source: FIS

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