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08 December 2017

Tuna Fishery Improvement Project formally launched in Eastern Atlantic Ocean

A tuna Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for the Eastern Atlantic Ocean has been formally launched, with the signing of a FIP agreement and approval of an action plan between 15 organisations. The FIP will work towards meeting the fisheries sustainability standard set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The MSC Fisheries Standard reflects international best practice in fisheries management and is based on United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO – Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries) guidelines. To meet this standard, fisheries must be well managed so that fish stocks remain healthy and impacts on the environment are mitigated. Achieving this standard would therefore provide credible verification of the sustainability of Eastern Atlantic Ocean purse seine tuna fisheries.

The goal of the FIP is to achieve measurable and verifiable improvements in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean purse seine tuna fishery. These improvements, which are implemented over a five year period, will allow the fishery to become fully compliant to the MSC standard. It will utilise the collective power, resources and efforts of the participants to bring about positive improvements to the way the fishery is managed. The FIP will strive to support the development of robust harvest strategies for tuna, ensure management measures are in place to maintain target and secondary species above biological limits, and provide a framework to manage the ecosystem impacts associated with purse seine fishing. 

To formalise the participation on the FIP, an agreement was signed on November 2nd at the Ivorian Ministry of Livestock and Fishery Resources by: AFKO, Agnes Park, AIRONE Côte d’Ivoire, ANABAC & Associates, ATUNSA, CFTO, COSMO, DH Fisheries, FCF, ORTHONGEL, PANOFI, Saupiquet Concarneau, SCODI, Sea Breeze Ventures and Thai Union Europe. It is supported by the Republic of Ghana, the Republic of Ivory Coast and WWF-UK.

The range of participants represents the FIP’s spirit of collaboration – which has concentrated the strengths of industry (including fishing fleets and processors), non-governmental organisations with the support and participation of WWF-UK, and the Governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast – to improve the governance of fisheries in the region.                     

The world’s fisheries are under more pressure than ever before, but we can find solutions if the seafood industry works together with authorities and NGOs. This important project shows leadership from the key players in the Eastern Atlantic purse seine tuna fishery to develop a sustainable future,” said Clarus Chu, Seafood Manager, WWF-UK.

“This exciting collaboration between industry, governments and other stakeholders demonstrates the effectiveness of working across the entire seafood supply chain. SCODI is delighted to be a key industry partner and looks forward to implementing impactful changes to safeguard sustainable fishing in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean“, said Mr. Mohamad Khachab, SCODI.

“The Eastern Atlantic Ocean Purse Seine tuna FIP’s formal launch is another milestone in achieving Thai Union’s global tuna commitment. Thai Union will continue to be a key partner in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Brazil FIPs that have been announced so far this year, and plan to be part of several more FIPs as we look towards our 2020 goal. The Eastern Atlantic Ocean is a key tuna source for our European supply chain, and we are committed to supporting the fishery as it moves towards MSC certification,” said Sylvain Cuperlier, Group CSR & Sustainability Director, Thai Union Europe.   

The FIP will focus on improving the health of fish stocks, minimising impacts on ecosystems, and implementing effective fisheries management strategies. The FIP will cover the catches of skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna from purse seine vessels. It will also support the recovery plan of the two commercial large tuna species in the region, yellowfin and bigeye tuna as well as ensuring the resolutions and recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) are followed and adhered to with regards to the management of skipjack.

Further information is available on WWF's dedicated webpage for the Eastern Atlantic Ocean Fishery Improvement Project


About the Eastern Atlantic Ocean Fishery Improvement Project (FIP):

The Eastern Atlantic 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 Eastern Atlantic Ocean FIP is supported by the following organisations:

  1. Republic of Ghana
  2. Republic of Ivory Coast
  3. WWF-UK
  4. AFKO
  5. Agnes Park
  6. AIRONE Côte d’Ivoire
  7. ANABAC & Associates
  9. Compagnie Française du Thon Océanique – CFTO
  10. COSMO Seafoods Co. Ltd.
  11. DH Fisheries
  12. FCF
  14. PANOFI Co., Ltd
  15. Saupiquet Concarneau
  16. SCODI
  17. Sea Breeze Ventures
  18. Thai Union Europe

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