Republic of Marshall Islands’ Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna Fishery Achieves MSC Certification


Longline fishing vessels for bigeye and yellowfin tuna under the management of the Marshall Islands Fishing Venture -- a subsidiary of China's Liangcheng Overseas Fishery Co. -- have been formally certified under the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Based in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, this is now only the second certified bigeye tuna worldwide, after the certified tuna fishery in the Federated States of Micronesia -- also owned by Liangcheng.

Assessors from Control Union found the Marshall Island's tuna fishery successfully met all 28 performance indicators required for certification. The MSC added that certification was also conditional on all member states in the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission adopting certain harvest strategies and control rules by 2021.

Electronic monitoring systems are currently being trialed on six of the fishery's vessels, with 119 longline fishing trips observed in this fashion. As part of its certification, the fishery has committed to implement further monitoring, control and surveillance systems, including dockside additional checks, by 2023.

Tuna caught in the waters of the Marshall Islands is typically taken to the capital, Majuro, for processing, before being exported to the US, China, Japan and other Asian markets for sale.

“This certification is a significant moment in our company’s history and marks the culmination of five years hard work," said Joe Murphy, senior vice-president of marketing at Liangcheng Overseas Fishery. "All four MSC certified fisheries owned by Liancheng achieved certification as the result of fishery improvement projects. It has been a companywide initiative to ensure the sustainability of our primary fishing grounds and to offer our valued customers a consistent supply of MSC certified sustainable tuna."

Glen Joseph, director of the Marshall Islands marine resources authority, added: "MSC certification gives us the confidence that we’re fishing our oceans sustainably, leaving a thriving resource for generations to come. It also gives those fishing our waters extra market incentive to safeguard the environment. It’s a win-win.”

New tuna industry group pledges to ‘clean up’ supply chains


The World Tuna Alliance, a newly formed industry group, plans to "clean up" supply chains for the species with a focus on tackling illegal fishing and improving environmental and social conditions.

According to a press release, the group counts o participation from major retailers and processors such as Ahold Delhaize, METRO, and New England Seafood International, among others. It is affiliated with Friends of Ocean Action, a group of more than 50 global leaders "committed to fast-tracking solutions for a healthy ocean", convened by the World Economic Forum and World Resources Institute, the press release stated.

Members of the alliance will pledge to source tuna from Global Seafood Sustainability Initiative-certified fisheries or those with "comprehensive" fishery improvement projects. 

"They are also called to engage with Regional Fisheries Management Organizations to push countries to endorse ambitious policies underpinning sustainability and respect for universal human rights, like the Port State Measures Agreement which will block vessels seeking entry to a port different from their flag state," the group said.

The alliance will be headed by Tom Pickerell, a veteran of groups such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafish, WWF and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

Tuna shortage a concern: Koroilavesau


By: Maggie Boyle

Fiji continues to look into other avenues to increase the tuna supply for processing at the Pacific Fishing Company Limited in Levuka which.

This works with Bumble Bee Seafoods.

Minister responsible and current Acting Prime Minister Semi Koroilavesau says they continue to face a shortage of tuna with around 120 metric tonnes needed a day to efficiently run operations.

However, PAFCO is now only able to process around 70 metric tons daily which comprises of both albacore and skipjack tuna.

Koroilavesau says they’re hoping other Pacific Island Countries will be able to assist them with increasing their catch as well as marketing Fiji as a hub processing center.

“We have involved the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially with the roving Ambassador in the Pacific in trying to get the discussion going with other countries that we had targeted to try and get more tuna for PAFCO.”

Meanwhile, last year the government invested over $16 million dollars in a new storage facility for PAFCO to be able to store up to four thousand metric tonnes of processed tuna.

Licensed vessels blamed for exploitation: IUU Fishing

By Soli Wilson,


More than 95 per cent of the Pacific's challenge from the unsustainable exploitation of its fisheries resources come from licensed, not illegal fishing vessels, the region's top fisheries official has warned.  

The head of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (F.F.A.), Dr. Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen, cited research from the organisation showing that licensed vessels present 95 per cent of the problems associated with Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (I.I.U.) fishing. 

"Our challenge is not purely illegal [or] unlicensed vessels; our big challenge, over 95 per cent [of it] is licensed vessels which are not reporting, under reporting [or] misreporting," said Dr. Manumatavai, who is the first female head of the F.F.A.

"So when we look at our monitoring control surveillance tools, we need to ensure that we put in place equipment that will ensure we get the right data in a timely fashion.

"For example electronic monitoring, electronic reporting is very much front and centre of our developments."

In the same study from a few years ago by F.F.A. discovered that although the cost of I.U.U. fishing to the region is not in the billions anymore, the estimated figure of US$616 million is still very significant.

Licensed fishing vessels pose more problems for the region than illegal or unlicensed vessels (Photo: Aufai Areta Areta)

"The number that has been estimated of fish that has been harvested or transshipped waters in our region is in the order of US$616 million and so it is still a significant number and still a significant challenge that none of our countries can tackle alone," she said.

This loss amounts to more than 12 per cent of the $5 billion in dock value the Pacific generated in 2014.

"Which is why the way F.F.A. has been set up is based on our cooperation we have put together and integrated monitoring control and surveillance framework to combat I.U.U. fishing," she said. 

The F.F.A. are looking at baseline indicators to determine fishing levels in all countries including Samoa as part of a challenge to eliminate I.U.U. fishing by 2023. 


"It's really important that we set baseline information so that we can tell by 2023 that we [have] worked down that figure and so as part of that exercise, we’ll look at how we do it across the board for the region plus the possibility of doing it for individual countries," she said. 

The challenge has also been marked as a key priority by the region after being taken to the Pacific Islands Forums and demanded cooperation between the F.F.A. and the Pacific Community (S.P.C.). 

"In the context of climate change there is an intensified pressure on coastal resources and so there will be an increasing call on tuna the off shore resources to supplement local food security needs," she said.

"So there is a responsibility on F.F.A., the S.P.C. and all of our regional organisations to see how we best support our people, our members and their priorities including in this context of this serious threat of climate change."

Although tools have been put in place to combat the issues, the Agency says it is still not satisfied as the perpetrators are constantly improving in their methods as well.

"We’re not complacent; the tools put in place are quite advanced but always the technology for fishers are quite smart and advancing how they will extract more fish and we need to stay in tune, in step with these sophisticated technologies and calibrate our [monitoring]," said Dr. Manumatavai.

Asked about China's role, the F.F.A. Chief said it does not matter who member states issue licenses to.

"For any vessel that we license, whether it is China or another partner, what we have to be clear on and our members are very good at underlining [is] what our minimum conditions of access are," she said.

"And that it applies to all across our members so that our countries are not played off against each other and our members are leading in terms of monitoring control and surveillance tools."

Dr. Manumatavai also highlighted that the Association's work is not just about ensuring that members are maximising economic returns but regulating the labour market too. 

"It’s also the human side to our works and the social responsibility and making sure that when we do license vessels to fish in our waters, whether they are foreign or domestic that they also ensure that crew on board [and] the conditions for their work are safe and decent," she said. 

Less frozen albacore tuna available impacted by higher prices


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Frozen albacore raw material prices landed in Bangkok surpassed USD4,000 per tonne in June

Overall frozen albacore “thunnus alalunga” exports decreased 19.4% in volume to 48,740 tonnes, with average price up 9.4% to USD3,316/tonne.

Frozen skipjack prices declined to record low in July



Last year’s positive demand trend for canned tuna continued during the first quarter of 2019, with increased imports of higher value products in the United States of America and Europe. Demand for non-canned tuna, particularly frozen fillet, is enjoying increasing sales opportunities worldwide at premium prices.

Raw Material Supply

The supply situation of frozen skipjack remained stable with good catch levels in the Western and Central Pacific during April–June 2019. Thai tuna packers were well supplied during the first half of the year along with carried overstocks from 2018. Total imports of frozen tuna in Thailand during January–March declined by 19 percent to 162 300 tonnes, with reduced procurement of skipjack (-18.3 percent) and yellowfin tuna (-29 percent) compared with the same period of last year. Subsequently, skipjack prices started to weaken again starting in April and reached USD 1 050 per tonne in mid-July. Moderate catches in the Indian Ocean facilitated regular transhipment to tuna packers worldwide.

However, canneries in the Eastern Pacific were rather poorly supplied until April, as catches were slow to moderate until then. situation started to improve in May. For raw materials, packers in Ecuador had to depend on the Western Pacific landings and also on transhipment from the Indian Ocean. During the first quarter of 2019, Ecuador imported 13 400 tonnes of raw material with a 50/50 share of skipjack and yellowfin tuna in this procurement.

Catches in the Atlantic Ocean were slow to moderate during this period. European packers had to rely on imports of raw tuna and cooked loins. Raw frozen tuna imports in Spain were 15 percent higher at 42 000 tonnes during the review period, along with an equal quantity of imports of cooked loins for reprocessing.

Fresh and frozen tuna market (non-canned)

Quantitative global trade for non-canned tuna is relatively small in comparison with the canned/processed tuna, including cooked loins. However, in recent years, consumer demand for fresh and frozen tuna, particularly fillets, has increased considerably in the same market areas where canned tuna has been an established product for decades. Although much more expensive than canned/pouched products, fresh and frozen tuna fillets/loins and steaks seem to have emerged as an alternative tuna item to customary canned tuna consumers.

During January–March 2019, an estimated 13 000–15 000 tonnes of fresh tuna and 35 000–36 000 tonnes of frozen tuna fillet (estimated live weight of 100 000 tonnes) entered the international trade.

United States of America

Positive market trend attracted more supplies of sashimi and non-sashimi grade tuna from global sources in the US market. Consumption improved during the 2019 Lent, particularly in the West Coast, where the weather conditions were favourable. Summer demand is likely to be much higher across the country. Imports of both fresh and frozen tuna increased in the US market during the first quarter of 2019, which endorses the market’s positive demand trend.


Sashimi tuna consumption in Japan normally improves during the winter months. But this year, imports of both whole fish and fillets declined during January–March and total tuna imports hit a record low at 47 500 tonnes, some 6.3 percent lower than during the same period in 2018. Consumption only improved during the April/May Spring festival period.

The cheaper Atlantic salmon has progressively taken away the share of fresh tuna in Japan’s domestic sashimi trade. Fresh salmon imports were stable during this period at 4 700 tonnes (+1.4 percent), while fresh tuna imports were only 2 800 tonnes.

European Union (Member Organization)

Traditionally, non-canned tuna was popular in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Frozen fillet, which has longer shelf life, is preferred over fresh whole tuna. Demand for tuna fillet is also on the rise in the Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium and in other EU28 markets. During the review period, air-flown fresh tuna imports in the EU28 market were 16.6 percent lower at 2 600 tonnes. However, frozen fillet imports increased by 21.4 percent to 8 900 tonnes, mainly sourced in Asia and Latin America.

Other Markets

Frozen fillet demand remained strong in the Russian Federation, where imports increased by 42 percent to almost 1 000 tonnes. Imports were higher in Norway, but softened in the Swiss market. In Asia, China imported more fresh bluefin tuna (+47 percent at 100 tonnes) and yellowfin tuna (+76 percent at 50 tonnes) for the restaurant trade. Imports of sashimi grade tuna and fillet also increased in southeast Asian markets, namely the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong SAR, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Canned tuna trade 

This trade maintained the positive curves of 2018 throughout the first quarter of 2019. Cheaper skipjack prices helped to increase sales worldwide. 


Thailand increased exports in most markets in the Middle East. However, exports faltered slightly to its top market, the United States of America. Thai exports of canned tuna increased to Chile and Peru. For Ecuador, exports to its top market in the EU28 increased by 26.5 percent to 33 000 tonnes, during the first quarter of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018, and one third of these were cooked loins.

Spanish exports, which are mostly targeted to intra-EU28 markets, increased sales to Italy, France, Austria, Romania, Czech Republic and Poland, but declined to Portugal, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.


There were mixed trends in the world trade of canned/processed tuna during the first quarter of 2019. US imports declined slightly for ‘tuna in brine’ and cooked loins. On the other hand, the positive demand trend for higher value processed tuna continued in the country. The EU28 imported more cooked loins. Canned tuna demand was strong throughout the Middle East, but remained lacklustre in East Asia.

North and South America

The slight decline in US imports of canned tuna (-5.6 percent) could be attributed to lower imports of cooked loins and old-fashioned canned ‘tuna in brine’. Conversely, imports of light meat and white meat tuna in-pouch, incups and other convenient packs increased by 18 percent, confirming consumers preference for better quality products. Among the top exporters to this market, supplies declined from Thailand, but increased from Ecuador and Viet Nam. After a decline in 2018, Canadian imports increased by 21 percent to 7 200 tonnes in the first quarter of 2019, with higher supplies from Thailand, the Philippines and also higher value tuna imports from Italy.

In Latin America, canned tuna imports declined in Colombia (-12.7 percent, 9 300 tonnes), Argentina (-23 percent, 6 300 tonnes) and Brazil (-69 percent, 2 100 tonnes), but increased in Chile (+49 percent, 4 100 tonnes) and Peru (+127 percent, 4 700 tonnes), affecting exports from Ecuador.

European Union (Member Organization)

The consumption pattern of canned/prepared tuna in the EU28 was positive, as imports of cooked loins for reprocessing, as well as canned/ pouched tuna for direct consumption, increased during the first quarter of 2019, compared with the same period in 2018. Imports of cooked loin imports were significantly high at 66 000 tonnes (+26.4 percent), with increased procurement by Spain, France and Portugal, but drops in Italy (-8.8 percent). Soft prices of skipjack obviously contributed to this development, as some 73 percent of skipjack imports were cooked loin.

Extra-EU28 imports during the review period increased by 12.4 percent to 143 700 tonnes, in which 45 percent were cooked loins (+25.4 percent, 64 200 tonnes), mainly supplied by China, Ecuador, Indonesia, Viet Nam and Papua New Guinea. Supplies of canned tuna for direct consumption from non-EU28 sources also increased by 3.8 percent to about 80 000 tonnes.

Other Markets

Imports increased in the Russian Federation (+85 percent, 1 400 tonnes) and in Norway (+10 percent, 840 tonnes), but the Swiss market remained soft (-23 percent, 2 000 tonnes).

Asia/Pacific & other Markets

Canned tuna imports were stagnant in Japan, as domestic production increased, supported by the cheaper raw material prices. It is also interesting to observe the ‘poor‘ demand pattern for canned tuna in many East Asian markets where fresh seafood is preferred. During the January–March 2019 low-priced period, canned tuna imports declined in Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, Singapore and some other regional markets.

Since canned tuna is popular in the Middle East, cheaper import prices induced higher demand in most of the large and small markets in that region (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria and others).


The often fluctuating raw material price remains a major issue in the canned tuna trade. During the first half of 2019, the price strengthening of frozen skipjack lasted only three months between February and April and started to weaken starting in May (USD 1 300 per tonne), sliding further to USD 1 050 per tonne in July (52 percent decline in three months) when FAD fishing closure started in the Western and Central Pacific fishing grounds. The average price for frozen skipjack between January and July was 17 percent lower than the corresponding period in 2018. Meanwhile, fuel prices, which were the major cost component in fishing, have started to move up due to the political tension in the Middle East, the main fuel supplying region.


The three-month FAD fishing closure in the Western and Central Pacific started on 1 July 2019. Subsequently, tuna landings have slowed down to a moderate level. As of July, the raw material inventories in Thailand were close to full capacity and there were still backlogs of carriers at Bangkok Port. Hence, the impact of low catches on prices has yet to happen. Price may increase with lower catches during the FAD closure period.

Fishing in the Eastern Pacific remains good and raw material inventories at local canneries remain high. There is a large number of tuna vessels waiting in port to unload, but there has been a reduction in the number of carriers arriving from the Indian Ocean and the Western and Central Pacific. Skipjack prices have fallen slightly, while yellowfin tuna prices remain stable. The first two-month IATTC ‘veda’ will commence on 29 July. Many vessels are likely to choose this ‘veda’ as market conditions are very poor at present.

As of July 2019, catches in the Indian Ocean remain low and raw material inventories at canneries in that region are moderate. Skipjack prices continue to weaken but yellowfin tuna prices are stable. Some vessels remain at port due to the poor fishing and low prices. Catch rates in the Atlantic Ocean remain moderate, while raw material inventories at local canneries have improved slightly to lowto-moderate.

Skipjack and yellowfin tuna prices in Spain have decreased, while the market price for cooked, double cleaned yellowfin tuna loins remains steady. Consumer demand for canned tuna has been weak this summer in the western markets except for higher value products. However, lower raw material prices may lead to lower retail prices and encourage supermarket promotions of canned tuna. The import trends in the large Middle East market is likely to continue for the rest of the year.

New Marine Heatwave Emerges off West Coast, Resembles "the Blob"


About five years ago “the Blob” of warm ocean water disrupted the West Coast marine ecosystem and depressed salmon returns. Now, a new expanse of unusually warm water has quickly grown in much the same way, in the same area, to almost the same size.

The warm expanse building off the West Coast stretches roughly from Alaska south to California. It ranks as the second largest marine heatwave in terms of area in the northern Pacific Ocean in the last 40 years, after "the Blob."

“It’s on a trajectory to be as strong as the prior event,” said Andrew Leising, a research scientist at NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California. He developed a system for tracking and measuring heatwaves in the Pacific Ocean using satellite data. “Already, on its own, it is one of the most significant events that we’ve seen.”

Cold water welling up from ocean depths along the coast has so far held the warm expanse offshore, he said. However, the upwelling, driven by coastal winds, usually wanes in the fall. The heatwave could then move onshore and affect coastal temperatures, he said. This already appears to have happened along the coast of Washington.

The new marine heatwave off the West Coast stands out in this map of sea surface temperature anomalies, with darker red denoting temperatures farther above average. The highest temperatures shown are more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit above average. Image from NOAA Coral Reef Watch, which corrects effectively for cloud cover.

NOAA Fisheries is focusing additional monitoring on the new heatwave, designated the Northeast Pacific Marine Heatwave of 2019. NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest and Northwest Fisheries Science Centers will provide fisheries managers and others with information on how the unusually warm conditions could affect the marine ecosystem and fish stocks.

“We learned with ‘the Blob’ and similar events worldwide that what used to be unexpected is becoming more common,” said Cisco Werner, NOAA Fisheries Director of Scientific Programs and Chief Science Advisor. “We will continue to inform the public about how the heatwave is evolving, and what we might anticipate based on experience.”

The new heatwave resembles the early stages of “the Blob.” This previous marine heat wave peaked through 2014 and 2015 with temperatures close to seven degrees Fahrenheit above average.

Blob Could Dissipate Quickly

Like “the Blob,” the new heatwave emerged over the past few months. A ridge of high pressure dampened the winds that otherwise mix and cool the ocean’s surface. The heatwave remains relatively new and is primarily affecting the upper layers of the ocean, it could break up rapidly.

“It looks bad, but it could also go away pretty quickly if the unusually persistent weather patterns that caused it change,” said Nate Mantua, a research scientist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

Current forecasts show the heat wave moderating but continuing for months.

A key question is whether the new heatwave will last long enough to affect the marine ecosystem. Biologists say that its large size means it probably already has. For example, warmer conditions during “the Blob” left lesser-quality food available to young salmon entering the ocean. It also shifted predator distributions in ways that contributed to low returns of salmon.

Shifts in the marine food web during the evolution of the 2014-2015 marine heatwave called, "the Blob," forced sea lion mothers to forage further from their rookeries in the Channel Islands off Southern California. Hungry pups set out on their own, but many became stranded on area beaches. 

Other impacts linked to the earlier heatwave include:

  • The largest harmful algal bloom recorded on the West Coast, which shut down crabbing and clamming for months.

  • Thousands of young California sea lions stranding on beaches.

  • Multiple declared fishery disasters.

NOAA Fisheries scientists recently convened a special meeting to discuss the emerging heatwave and how to anticipate and track its effects. They are now reviewing impacts documented during the “the Blob” to compare them against the effects of the emerging heatwave.

“Given the magnitude of what we saw last time, we want to know if this evolves on a similar path,” said Chris Harvey, a research scientist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

Monitoring Framework in Place

NOAA Fisheries’ two West Coast laboratories collaborate on the California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment. This is a joint effort to track and interpret environmental change off the West Coast. That provides a framework to monitor shifting conditions, Harvey said.

One challenge will be applying lessons learned from the last heat wave to anticipate and mitigate potential impacts of the new one. For example, the warm water of “the Blob” led humpback and other whales to feed closer to shore. Record numbers became entangled in lines from crab traps and other fishing gear.

In response, fishermen, managers, and others have formed working groups in California, Oregon, and Washington. They hope to find ways of reducing the risk of entanglements.

The marine heatwave that has formed off the West Coast of North America is currently close to the warmest area in the Pacific Ocean. Map shows sea surface temperature anomalies, with darker orange representing temperatures farther above average. Image from NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service.

Real-time research on environmental changes will give managers the details they need to respond, said Kristen Koch, Director of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center. “This is a time when we all need to know how our marine ecosystem is changing, and what that means for those of us who live along the West Coast.” 

The new northeast Pacific heatwave reflects current weather patterns. This includes a band of high pressure stretching north to the Bering Sea and Alaska, which have been unusually warm in recent years, said Nick Bond, a research meteorologist with the Joint Institute for the study of the Atmosphere and Ocean in Seattle, a collaboration between NOAA and the University of Washington.

Scientists monitoring new marine heat wave off B.C. coast similar to 'the Blob'


A new marine heat wave spreading across a portion of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of British Columbia has so far grown into one of the largest of its kind in the last four decades, officials say, second only to the infamous "blob" that disrupted marine life five years ago. 

The swath of unusually warm water stretches roughly from Alaska down to California, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States. The marine phenomenon began in the Gulf of Alaska sometime around June 15 and ballooned over the summer.

A marine heat wave happens when sea surface temperatures are higher than normal for at least five consecutive days.

Officials tracking the system said it is already the second-largest experts have seen since 1981 — the first year for which satellite data used to track marine heat waves is available.

"Already, on its own, it is one of the most significant events that we've seen," Andrew Leising, a research scientist at the NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif., said in a statement Thursday.

Above average water temperature

Leising said this year's heat wave resembles a similar West Coast heat wave that upset marine life in 2014 and 2015. Nicknamed "the Blob," the system, which stretched from Mexico to the Bering Sea, was blamed for warmer weather on land, abysmal feeding conditions for salmon and the sudden deaths of two dozen whales in the Pacific.

The Blob saw temperatures in the water peak at 3.9 C above average. The NOAA said the water this year has already reached temperatures of more than 2.7 C above average off the coast of Washington state.

"It's on a trajectory to be as strong as the prior event," said Leising, who developed a system for tracking and measuring heat waves in the Pacific Ocean using satellite data.

"It's really only time that will tell if this feature is going to persist and then rival [the Blob]."

The NOAA said its staff is monitoring this year's system to see whether it will last long enough to impact the marine ecosystem, though some biologists suggest it already has based on its sheer size.

The agency blamed the recent marine heat wave on a persistent weather pattern that began in June: weaker-than-normal winds and a weaker high-pressure system over the wedge of warm ocean between B.C., Hawaii and Washington state. 

Officials say a formal analysis to try to pinpoint the reasons for the unusual weather pattern will take "some months" to complete. During the previous "blob" event, a number of studies suggested long-term ocean warming due to climate change made the heat wave stronger than it otherwise would have been.

Cold water rising along the coast from the ocean depths has held the warmer water offshore thus far, but experts said the chilled surge usually peters out in the fall. The heat wave in the water could move onshore and affect coastal temperatures if that happens, Leising said in the statement.

Officials also noted the marine heat wave is still new enough to break up if the weather shifts. 

Tuna players push for adoption of new technologies

By Allen Estabillo


GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- Tuna industry players are pushing for the adoption of more technologies to further improve their operations and help promote the proper conservation and management of tuna and other critical marine resources.

Joaquin Lu, president of the Socsksargen Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII), said Tuesday the move will be the main focus of the 21st National Tuna Congress slated on Sept. 4 to 6 at the SM Mall Trade Halls here.

Lu said around 700 domestic and foreign tuna industry stakeholders, officials and representatives of various government agencies as well as non-government groups are expected to join the gathering.

Anchored on the theme “The Tuna Industry: Embracing Technologies and Sustainable Strategies,” he said the congress aims to promote sustainability through the use of technologies.

Lu said maintained that the sustainability of tuna resources can only be achieved if conservation and management measures are dutifully observed.

International and regional agreements calling for the preservation of species and recovery plans should also be harmonized, he said.

“Sustainability means no overfishing. It means that we should promote an environment for tuna and tuna-like species to spawn and propagate for another season of catch. The intention is not to deplete our resources,” he said in a press conference.

Lu hopes the tuna industry would continuously upgrade its systems and processes “to achieve full efficiency while being ocean-friendly.”

He said SFFAII, an umbrella organization of seven associations involving over 100 companies, has been integrating various technologies.

These include the Electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability System or eCDTS, which is being implemented in collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the United States Agency for International Development’s Oceans and Fisheries Partnership.

“It is our hope that we can harmonize technology and sustainability for the fishing industry to support the government’s goal to establish a sustainable, managed and equitably-allocated tuna fishery by 2026 as well as promote responsible fishing practices and trade of tuna products,” Lu said.

Organizers said the three-day event will tackle electronic monitoring, surveillance and control system; catch documentation and traceability technology solutions; emerging technologies for processors; and commodity, market and stock assessment.

Dubbed the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines,” the city hosts six of the country’s eight tuna canneries.

The industry, which generated export receipts of around PHP22 billion in 2018, directly employs some 27,290 people and provides livelihoods to 109,160 others through various secondary activities. (PNA)

Tuna Catch Quota Meeting Also Shadowed by Japan-S. Korea Rift


Portland, Oregon, Sept. 4 (Jiji Press)--A rift between Japan and South Korea over increases in catch quotas for Pacific bluefin tuna is likely to make it harder to bring the just-started international conference to control stocks of the popular fish for sushi lovers to a successful end, sources with access to the meeting said Wednesday.
Both of the two East Asian countries aim to expand catch quotas through the four-day meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission's Northern Committee, which kicked off in Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday.
Talks would have rough going due to not only the U.S. opposition to any increases in tuna catches for now but the discord in Japanese and South Korean proposals for larger quota allocations, the sources said.
Given a recent recovery in Pacific blue fin tuna population, Japan offered to increase the overall catch quota for tuna weighing less than 30 kilograms by 10 pct and that for larger fish by 20 pct. The country also proposed to share the add-on quota for the larger fish, about 1,300 tons, among itself, South Korea and Taiwan.
South Korea, for its part, presented the idea of raising the upper limit for large tuna fishing by 1,650 tons so the country can catch 350 tons more than now and Japan 1,600 tons more.