Friend of the Sea has recently introduced new criteria for the certification of tuna from sustainable fisheries, requiring the use of non-entangling Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs).
These floating objects are commonly used by tuna purse seine vessels and some commercial pole and line fleets. They are made of a series of old nets suspended and weighted down from a floating part.
Recent studies have shown that the old nets used on FADs are the main cause of sharks and turtles mortality. Even FADs which are not recovered and which drift away unused can prove lethal for these species, which end up entangled.
The new Friend of the Sea requirement for non-entangling FADs is expected to drastically reduce mortality rates of endangered sharks and turtles.
Friend of the Sea approved vessels will be obligated to use non-entangling nets and report on the use of FADs per vessel.
“We believe FADs, like any fishing method, have pros and cons, and should be managed in a way to reduce their potential environmental impact” explains Paolo Bray, founder and director of Friend of the Sea. “Banning FADs or promoting only FAD Free tuna, like some NGOs do, only shifts the problem. For example fishing on FADs is more fuel efficient and carbon footprint is part of the impacts we all should aim to reduce.”
Friend of the Sea
Friend of the Sea is an international certification program for products from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Over 500 companies in more than 50 countries have relied on Friend of the Sea to assess the sustainability of their seafood origins. Audits, based on best and most updated available scientific data, are run by accredited independent certification bodies.