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Northwest Tuna Trollers Enter Agreement For Eco Certification

The Western Fish Boat Owners Association (WFOA) and the Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation (CHMSF), have completed a collaborative funding agreement to undertake a full assessment for Marine Stewardship Certification for North American North Pacific Albacore Tuna.
MCS-certified seafood can be traced back to a sustainable fishery, enabling consumers around the world to make the best environmental choice in seafood

WFOA director, Wayne Heikkila said that certification was a necessary step for the Association with many retailers and restaurants buying only product carrying the MSC logo, including Sainsbury’s in the UK. Wal-Mart has also pledged to make a full switch to certified fisheries by 2011.

“It’s a global market and the MSC logo is an internationally recognized symbol of good management and sustainability,” says Heikkila. “We pride ourselves on our environmental record and this is an effective way to communicate it to our customers around the world.” On successful certification, the two Organizations may apply to display the prestigious Marine Stewardship Council Eco-Label on their products. 

WFOA member-vessels have been trolling for albacore for almost a century in the Pacific Northwest. There is near-zero by-catch with this method of fishing which is endorsed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The WFOA is a non-profit association representing more than 400 family-owned albacore fishing vessels, fishermen and supporting businesses. They are involved in fisheries’ management issues at the state, federal, and international level. The CHMSF is a non-profit association offering the same representation for the Canadian albacore fishing industry.

The fisheries under assessment are defined as the Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga) North Pacific stock fished by WFOA and CHMSF vessels members using troll and jig and pole and line and troll and jig, respectively as fishing methods. The fishing fleets operate within USA EEZ, Canadian EEZ and West of the International Dateline in the North Pacific International Waters.

The Certifier, I:FQC Ltd, an International seafood specialist Certification Body, has been contracted to perform the assessments of both fisheries.