Monday, 06 May 2019 08:20

Spain: Tuna association seeks MSC certification

EM3 19 News Int OPAGACOrganización de Productores Asociados de Grandes Atuneros Congeladores (OPAGAC) is an association of nine frozen tuna seiner fishing shipowners. Its fleet, consisting of 47 tuna seiner ships, catches 380,000 tonnes a year, 8% of the global catch, and fishes in the three main oceans in the world - Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. OPAGAC has begun the process of having its fisheries assessed to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard to have them certified as sustainable. The assessment is the result of a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) that OPAGAC developed in collaboration with the WWF since 2016, the objective of which is to achieve MSC certification for the 12 stocks targeted by OPAGAC vessels. And it is in line with a commitment made at the 2017 international Our Ocean conference to obtain MSC certificate for all its captures by 2021. A spokesperson from Lloyd’s Register, the independent certification body carrying out the assessment, said that it was the largest tuna fleet in the world to apply for MSC certification on this scale. Sustainability certificates are becoming increasingly important for access to important seafood markets around the world and OPAGAC’s decision to seek certification is likely to encourage other tuna fleets to consider it as well.