More tuna products certified Friend of the Sea will be out on the shelves soon in Switzerland and other international markets as the Philippines Handline Tuna fishery has been audited and found to be compliant with Friend of the Sea sustainability criteria. This origin adds to the growing list of Friend of the Sea sustainable tuna fisheries, which currently includes the Irish Albacore troll fishery; the Azores, Brasil and Senegal pole and line fisheries; the Sri Lanka short lines fishery. More origins are currently under audit upon application from main international producers: the Ghana pole and line and the Maldivian short lines.
“Friend of the Sea, differently from other certification schemes, has focused first in assessing known lower impact fisheries, such as pole and Line, handline or purse seine for small pelagics.” explains Dr Paolo Bray, director of Friend of the Sea “We believe consumers should be properly informed about the fact that most tuna stocks are not overexploited according to Regional Fishery Bodies assessments and that pelagic species can represent a lower impact alternative to bottom trawled groundfish.”
The Philippines Yellowfin tuna fishery has catches of approximately 25% of the 110.000 MT TAC set by the National Tuna Management Plan in 2007 on the basis of the Maximum Sustainable Yield. The handline fishery itself fishes approximately half of the catch and mainly fully adult 35kg tuna, much bigger than the Philippines purse seine fishery which is often catching immature tuna. Bycatch is negligible: of the total fish landing in August 2008, black marlins represent 0,2%; sharks 0,0176% and dolphinfish 0,00024%. Quantities of discards are estimated to be below those of bycatch. Yellowfin stock status, according to the most updated Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission (WCPFC) is not overfished and is fully exploited, thus complying with Friend of the Sea and FAO minimum requirements for sustainable fisheries certification.
Some of the main Philippines international producers and traders selling to the international market have completed the chain of custody and can provide Friend of the Sea certified products: F.A.B. Sea Resources Corporation, Jarla Trading, Lee Fish, Santa Cruz Seafoods.
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