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Albacore tuna gets second sustainability tick

Thursday 16 February 2017

MSC Program Director for Oceania, Anne Gabriel, has congratulated the New Zealand albacore tuna fishery.

“This shows the fishery recognises the instrumental role they play in making a significant difference to the health of the world’s oceans, fish stocks and the marine ecosystems,” she said.

“New Zealand albacore has shown their commitment to sustainability by dedicating significant time, energy and resources to meeting the MSC standard. Every contribution creates a momentum that will progressively transform the supply chain in how the food sector, including brands, retailers and restaurants source their seafood.

 “Ultimately the consumer promise is delivered in empowering informed, responsible and ethical choices by creating trust over their choice of sustainable seafood with the MSC eco-label, which is science-based, third party certified, credible and traceable,” said Anne Gabriel

Doug Saunders-Loder, of the Tuna Management Association (TMA) says the fishery was first certified in 2011.

“It is great news that, once again, this fishery has been awarded the gold standard in sustainability.

“A fleet of around 140 vessels troll unbaited lures to capture the predominantly young albacore during a migration down New Zealand¹s west coast during the summer months,” said Saunders-Loder.

The annual catch of around 2,500 tonnes is only a small fraction of the overall annual catch from the South Pacific albacore stock of around 85,000 tonnes, which is taken mainly by international longliners.

“Albacore comprises over 99 percent of the catch, making it an extremely environmentally friendly fishery. No endangered, threatened or protected species have ever been observed caught in this fishery,” Saunders-Loder said.

Reassessment of the fishery commenced in February 2016.

Other New Zealand species with the prized MSC certification are hake, hoki, ling, orange roughy and southern blue whiting.

The New Zealand EEZ skipjack purse-seine fishery is also in the final stages of MSC assessment. 

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