View Full Version : Echebastarís Indian Ocean skipjack fishery awarded MSC certification

Davie Tait
12th November 2018, 15:25

Izaro, one of Echebastar’s five purse seiners fishing for tuna in the Indian Ocean

Spanish fishing company Echebastar has been awarded MSC certification for its Indian Ocean purse seine fishery for skipjack tuna. It hasn’t been an easy ride for the Bermeo-based company, which has seen its application go through a tough process that has seen objections at various stages.

Pesqueras Echebastar operates five purse seiners which land tuna in the Seychelles. Certification covers the fleet’s entire skipjack catch.

During the long process, significant improvements were required and new standards met, including the implementation of harvest control rules and improved FAD management. The Echebastar fishery has also implemented procedures to reduce by-catch 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.

100% observer coverage since 2014 also means greater confidence in data from the fishery.

‘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.

‘It reflects the positive changes that have been made to improve stock management, reduce by-catch and increase confidence in reporting. This has taken hard work to achieve. 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. MSC certification is a long-term journey. We wish Echebastar every success in maintaining their laudable progress.’

To maintain its certification, 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.

This Echebastar certification follows an 18-month assessment process by fisheries experts employed by conformity assessment body, Lloyds Register (Acoura).

The assessment included in-depth analysis of scientific data including stock assessments, peer review by independent scientists and extensive stakeholder consultation.

Acoura’s final recommendation to certify the fishery was further scrutinised through an objections process overseen by independent adjudicator Jack McKendrick QC.

His final determination was published on 24 October 2018, upholding Acoura’s decision to certify the fishery, subject to amendments which have now been made following a review by the objector (WWF) and the independent adjudicator.

Source: MSC