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Gomes Da Costa Tuna Certified As Sustainable By FOS

The largest canning company in South America, part of the Calvo Group, highlights its social and environmental engagement

Gomes da Costa sources mainly skipjack and some yellowfin tuna from the Brazilian pole and line fishery. The fishermen use a fishing rod (bamboo) and live baits (sardines) which are however not put on the hook but simply thrown in the water, as the boats use water showers simulating fish movement. The tuna, attracted and tricked by the movement, bite the hook and get immediately lifted onboard and frozen. The fishing method causes negligible bycatch, mainly dourado (Coryphaena hippurus) and bonito (Auxys thazard), and for this Gomes da Costa has also been certified Dolphin-Safe by the Earth Island Institute.

According to the 2008 stock assessment, Skipjack stock of the Western Atlantic is considered to be not overexploited with biomass well above and fishing level well below their levels at Maximum Sustainable Yield. Yellowfin catch levels are also below those at MSY while biomass is estimated to be near ICCAT’s MSY objective. The fishery is compliant with maximum catch limits established by the local authorities. All vessels are monitored by means of VMS program called PREP and need to report on hourly base to the local Special Office for Aquaculture and Fishery. Tilapia or farmed sardines are being tested as alternative to use of small fish for bait.

The detailed onsite audit has confirmed Gomes da Costa’s compliance with all labor regulations and, furthermore, the company has deserved an important Millennium Goal #1 Award by the Itajai City Hall in recognition of the frequent product donations to local associations.

“Gomes da Costa / Calvo Group certification makes
Friend of the Sea more and more the standard for sustainable tuna” comments Paolo Bray, director of Friend of the Sea.

Gomes da Costa (GDC) is the largest canned tuna and sardine company in Brazil, with a 40% market share, and second biggest in Argentina. Its brand has been sold for over 50 years and its most sold products are high-quality canned tuna and sardines. It is considered the largest catching and receipt unit in Latin America, producing over 1,2 million cans  per day.

In 2008 the Calvo Group, with GDC forming part of it, reached total sales over 600 million dollars, 48% resulting from exports to over 40 countries. Thus, the Group became one of the 5 largest canned seafood companies in the world, employing more than 3,500 people, and with a fleet of 11 ships. GDC products are sold also in the Mercosur region, which gathers Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. The company also operates in other 27 countries, with sales and marketing activities, reaching Angola, Lebanon, Cuba, Costa Rica, Libya, Australia, Curacao, Chile, Colombia and Costa Rica among others.

“Following our Dolphin-Safe certification, it was natural for Gomes da Costa to approach
Friend of the Sea program for our third party sustainability certification” comments Mr. Alberto Encinas (CEO of the company). “Friend of the Sea better represents our environmental awareness and we are confident our customers will appreciate our engagement to social ecological accountability”.