Friend of the Sea announces recent certification of the first products from approved Irish troll fishery for Albacore Tuna (Thunnus Alalunga). This represents a further step of Friend of the Sea in the Irish, German and UK market and confirms the scheme as leader in sustainable tuna certification.
According to Dr Bray, director of Friend of the Sea “several sustainable tuna fisheries have already been approved and products certified. The first one was the Azorean pole and line fishery for skipjack, then came the short bottom lines for yellowfin in Sri Lanka. The Philippines and Senegalese Pole and Line fisheries also got approved recently and we are assessing pole and line fisheries in Brazil, Ghana and Maldives. Our strong collaboration with the Earth Island Institute Dolphin-Safe project has clearly helped us with earning the trust of the tuna industry.”
The current ICCAT assessment for the North Atlantic albacore stock indicates that the stock recently rebuilt to levels near BMSY. Ireland catches less than 10% of the total – approximately 500 tons out of the total 36.000 tons caught in the North Atlantic. Ireland is fully compliant with the specific TAC, having fished approx 500 tonnes in 2007: less than 10% of 2006/7 TAC. The current total allowable catch (TAC) for the Northern albacore stock is 34,500 t and reported catches are over the TAC because of over catching of the much bigger Spanish fleet. “Friend of the Sea hopes that the approval of the Irish fleet will in turn motivate Spanish fishermen to respect TAC in future years in order to also obtain Friend of the Sea recognition”
Troll fishing methods is a pelagic gear and does not impact the seabed. Furthermore only artificial lures are used, thus the fishery does not impact other fish stocks for live bait. Trolling targeting tuna is considered to have a low or negligible discard rate. (0,5% from the FAO Discard database – data from tuna troll fisheries in New Zealand, Maldives and Saudi Arabia). Independent auditors which inspected the Irish fishing vessels reported that no bycatch or discards occurred. Observers from BIM (Irish Sea Fisheries Board) are often aboard the vessel during the trip to observe, monitor and advise.
Trolling is a relatively fuel efficient method of fishing as it is selective and the gear is used only when schools of tuna are detected and only during hours of daylight. BIM has completed considerable work on a seafood EMS (Environmental Management System) and encourages vessels to become involved so that their efficiency can be increased and their environmental impact reduced.
Irish Seaspray and Woodcock Smokeries have already requested and undergone successful audit for chain of custody as they plan to have their products labelled Friend of the Sea. “We believe the Friend of the Sea project to be reliable as it applies strict science – based criteria.” comments Dr.Peter Tyndall of BIM “The Irish fishery, processors and smokeries will surely benefit by this third party certification. Through this accreditation, our fish can be distinguished from other albacore fisheries which may not be compliant with TACs and in turn the whole stock management could benefit”.