First MSC tuna fishery re-certified

16 Jan 2013

Fresh, frozen and canned albacore tuna from the American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA), has achieved MSC certification for a second time for the North and South Pacific albacore fisheries.

The AAFA fishery became the first tuna fishery in the world to become MSC certified in 2007.

Members of AAFA use pole and line and troll gears with barbless hooks to catch and land albacore tuna one at a time; there is no bottom contact and negligible bycatch as a result of employing these fishing methods. Because no nets are used, the fishery is dolphin free. In 2011, the total volume of albacore harvested in the Pacific Ocean was approximately 11,700mt. The AAFA fleet accounts for more than half of the total US albacore tuna harvest on an annual basis.

Natalie Webster, executive director of the American Albacore Fishing Association, said, “When AAFA decided in 2004 to proceed with MSC certification, most US harvesters and processors did not know what MSC was. AAFA knew it needed to tell the story of the US pole and troll fisherman, its families, products and fishery. US-harvested pole and troll albacore tuna had always been included in news reports of tuna in general. The difference in stock, harvest method, environmental impact, etc. was not made clear and this artisanal fishery was not defined. AAFA felt the MSC certification would allow the story to be told on the world stage and subsequently consumers would gain awareness of what makes this US pole and troll fishery so remarkable. MSC certification allowed us a platform to tell our story and as a result we have developed new markets and brought much-needed stability to this historic fishery.”

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