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12 October 2016, Seychelles – A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or an expression of interest was signed yesterday between the Republic of Seychelles, Republic of Mauritius, WWF, Princes Limited and Thai Union Europe to launch a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for the Indian Ocean. The aim of the FIP is to meet the sustainability standard set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Seventeen companies also formalised their interest in becoming partners of the FIP.

The FIP will focus on the key areas of sustainable sourcing – healthy fish stocks, minimal and reversible impact on ecosystems, and effective fisheries management – and ensure that best practices are adhered to. The FIP will also cover the catches of skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna species from around 40 French, Italian, Spanish, Mauritius and Seychelles-flagged purse seine vessels. The FIP will also focus on supporting the recovery of the yellowfin stock in the region.

“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding, launching the Fisheries Improvement Project, represents a unique partnership amongst the different parties, combining the concerted efforts of governments, the Industry and NGOs to address common challenges we face in securing a sustainable future for our tuna fisheries. This initiative is further testament of our commitment in ensuring the sustainability of this fishery, an activity which is centre to the development of our blue economy and the livelihood of our people,” said Minister Wallace Cosgrow, Seychelles Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.

Development of a FIP Work Plan will begin immediately after the signing of the MoU, in consultation with WWF. The Work Plan will outline the major activities, improvement areas, and key performance indicators that all partners will have to commit to achieve within the five years of the FIP.

“This is a major step towards better tuna fishing and management in the Indian Ocean. Around 20% of the world’s commercially-caught tuna comes from this fishery, so it’s vital that work begins to improve the health of tuna stocks by improving their management and reduce the impact of fishing activities on the ecosystem. We’re very encouraged that the Seychelles and Mauritius governments and the fishing industry in the Indian Ocean recognise the need to take action. We look forward to working with them to create meaningful change on the water and ultimately to deliver fisheries that can be MSC-certified,” said Daniel Suddaby, WWF’s Global Tuna Governance Leader.

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About the Indian Ocean Fishery Improvement Project (FIP):

The Indian Ocean Fishery Improvement Project is an alliance-driven initiative to help the purse seine fishery in the region meet Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability standard.  The Indian Ocean FIP is supported by the following partners:

Key partners committed to the FIP:

  1. Republic of Seychelles
  2. WWF
  3. Princes Limited
  4. Thai Union Europe

Key partners that have expressed an interest to join the FIP:

  1. Republic of Mauritius

Companies that have expressed an interest in joining the FIP:

  1. ANABAC/OPTUC
  2. ATUNSA
  3. Beach Fishing
  4. CFTO
  5. FEDERPESCA
  6. Hardswater
  7. Inpesca Fishing
  8. INTERATUN
  9. Industria Armatoriale Tonniera
  10. Isabella Fishing
  11. IOSMS
  12. OPAGAC
  13. OPS
  14. Orthongel
  15. SAPMER SA
  16. TFC
  17. TOG