Frabelle’s 21 tuna purse seiners in PNG are first FoS sustainable

Friend of the Sea announces that the 21 purse seine and handline fleet of Frabelle (PNG) Ltd have been found compliant to the scheme’s strict sustainability criteria.  The fishery is the first ever tuna purse seine fleet to be approved sustainable. “Purse seining can be a very selective and lower impact method if well managed and monitored” explains Paolo Bray, director of Friend of the Sea “Frabelle’s fleet approval is strong evidence in favor of sustainable purse seining practices”.

Frabelle PNG – part of the Philippine Frabelle Group – has both processing factory and sea fishing base in the port of Lae. The fleet operates in PNG economic zone outside the 12 miles zone, mainly in the Bismark Archipelago Sea. Loins, sashimi and canned tuna are sold to PNG local market and Europe.
Frabelle’s targeted tuna stocks are considered moderately (skipjack) to fully (yellowfin) exploited. PNG has a comprehensive (100%) on board observers monitoring program which helps acquiring valuable data for stock assessments. Currently PNG is using only 80% of its quota.  Furthermore the Government of Papua New Guinea has implemented 22 Marine Protected Areas.  The fleet does not fish in the MPAs and operates well away from coral reefs. Compliance is monitored by on-board Observers and all vessels are equipped with electronic Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) monitored every hour 24/7 by the VMS system of NFA-PNG, Fisheries Forum Agency, and WCPFC Commission.
The purse seine fishery for yellowfin and skipjack tuna in the WCP catches almost exclusively tuna (98%). Other bycatch is Rainbow runner and less than 0,5% sharks and others. (Kirby et al.). Morobe Provincial Fisheries staff jointly with village representatives, checks fish unloading, including bycatch from handline boats at Lae wharf. Frabelle lands its entire catch, including all bycatch and dead/dying fish.  Undersize tuna are still processed and waste fish are sent to the fishmeal plant. Any rarely caught dolphins, turtles or sharks are either herded out of nets or returned to the sea promptly.  The company is also Dolphin-Safe approved by the Earth Island Institute.
Frabelle has a very good Social Accountability record, operating within the framework of the PNG government social plans. The Friend of the Sea audit highlighted Frabelle’s excellent waste management practices: the organic waste is sent to the fish meal plant; scrap metal and used engine oil is exported to the Philippines for reuse; waste cardboard is sent to the packing factory (which happens to be located next door to the cannery). Other garbage is disposed of in an approved landfill as per City Council requirements. Waste water is treated and sent to PNG Waterboard plant for final treatment that the company pays for per m3.
“We are proud to be the first purse seine fleet certified sustainable” comments Mr. Francisco Tiu-Laurel, Jr., Managing Director of Frabelle. ”Criticisms against this fishing method are often not supported by scientific evidence and Friend of the Sea science based impartial on-site audit has finally highlighted Frabelle’s fleet conservation efforts.”
Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr – MD
P.O Box 1255 Lae City
Morobe Province, PNG
Tel. No. (675) 4727663

Fax. No. (675) 4727604

Paolo Bray – Director

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