Echebaster achieves MSC certification

Certification covers Echebaster's entire skipjack catch of around 15,000 tonnes of skipjack tuna per year Photo: Echebaster Certification covers Echebaster's entire skipjack catch of around 15,000 tonnes of skipjack tuna per year Photo: Echebaster

The Echebastar Indian Ocean purse seine skipjack tuna fishery has achieved certification to the MSC Fisheries Standard.

The fishery, owned by Pesqueras Echebastar, a Basque company based in Bermeo, Spain, includes five purse seiners landing tuna in the Seychelles. Certification covers the five-vessel fleet’s entire skipjack catch of around 15,000 tonnes of skipjack tuna per year.

“This certification is the culmination of many years of leadership and improvements by the fishery and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission” said Michel Kaiser, Science and Standards Director at the MSC.

“To maintain certification the fishery has committed to achieve further challenging improvements which, if successful, will continue to safeguard ecosystems and habitats in the Indian Ocean.”

Considerable improvements

Certification of the Echebastar fishery follows considerable improvements to tuna fishing practices and management in the Indian Ocean, including the implementation of harvest control rules and the improved management of fish aggregating devises (FADs).

The Echebastar fishery has also implemented procedures to reduce bycatch including only using non-entangling FADs and the rapid release of unwanted catch back to the sea, ensuring higher survival rates of non-target species.

To remain certified, Echebastar has committed to work with the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and Seychelles authorities to deliver eight conditions of certification over the next five years.

Upon completion, these will lift the fishery’s performance to best practice in areas including improved information on endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species, new strategies to reduce the impact of FADs on coral reefs, improved scientific data on the impacts of the fishery on ecosystems and clearer processes for local stakeholder consultation.

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