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WWF Welcomes First MSC-certified Skipjack Tuna Products From The Pacific In Europe

Today marks the first ever delivery of certified, sustainably-managed tuna from the Pacific islands to the European marketplace.

SPAR Austria is the first retailer to offer canned skipjack tuna from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, the largest skipjack tuna fishery in the world that is also certified according to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard in Austrian supermarkets.

The MSC label guarantees consumers that the fish caught is from a sustainably managed fishery, handled under a rigid chain of custody from the net to the retailer, and harvested with minimal impacts on other marine species including sharks, turtles, and marine mammals. It also shows that the tuna stock is maintained in healthy condition, and that the fishery has little adverse impacts on marine habitats.

SPAR Austria has received the tuna from a fishery that is managed by the sub-regional organization known as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), which is comprised of eight developing nations in the South Pacific Region that control around 50% of the world’s skipjack tuna supply including the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

The PNA has consistently demonstrated leadership in the region by taking management measures for their free-school purse seine fishery that include restrictions on the use of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs)*, tuna catch retention, mesh regulations, portside transhipment and prohibitions on setting nets on whale sharks. Additionally, every fishing trip is fully monitored and documented by independent, 3rd party observers, who verify catch and by-catch.

WWF has been a strong supporter of the PNA’s commitment to applying the ecosystem approach, a strategy for integrated management that promotes conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment.

 “WWF applauds the PNA, its co-brand partner Pacifical, and SPAR in their partnership in making delivery of sustainably sourced, FAD-free MSC skipjack tuna to the Austrian market.” said Alfred Schumm, WWF’s Smart Fishing Initiative Leader. 

“It is a remarkable success for these developing nations to have banded together in an effort to secure their own economies through sustainable management of their natural resources. We hope that more markets in Europe and the rest of the world will recognize this effort and will offer these certified tuna products.” Schumm added.

The PNA also underwent a vigorous and lengthy review of its chain of custody procedures to ensure that the skipjack tuna they deliver meets the standard of the MSC, considered the most comprehensive and robust seafood ecolabel in existence with by-catch and chain of custody standards that exceed any other ecolabel. This provides not just the world’s best traceability, but also the ability for the consumer to track the can back to the Pacific and its people.

“We are thrilled to be delivering PNA MSC-certified skipjack tuna to SPAR and into the European market,” said Maurice Brownjohn, the commercial advisor to the PNA.  “It means a lot to our developing nations to finally achieve delivery of canned skipjack tuna into the market and see benefits of sustainability.”