Frequently Asked Questions
 

Who is Pacifical?
Pacifical is the global tuna marketing company jointly set up by the 8 PNA Pacific Island nations in 2011, to promote and actively trade their MSC certified sustainably caught free school skipjack and yellowfin tuna, caught in the pristine and tuna rich waters of their countries.

What is PNA?
PNA stands for “Parties to the Nauru Agreement” and it is made up of 8 countries in the Western and Central PacificFederated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. These small island nations, but also large ocean states, have been closely cooperating for the last 20 years to manage and preserve their own tuna resources in a sustainable and socially responsible way.

Why is the Pacifical logo on my MSC tuna product?
The Pacifical logo serves as a geographic indicator, bringing recognition to the PNA region. It informs consumers about the origin of the high quality MSC certified tuna that is inside the product they have bought. Pacifical tuna is caught in the pristine waters of the PNA and it is 100% traceable from the moment of catch, all the way to the can found in the cupboard. The logo represents the support and contribution of the supermarket chain or brand to the development of the PNA people, their nations, economies and the extensive efforts taken by these small countries to preserve their tuna resources for the world’s future generations.

Who owns Pacifical?
Pacifical c.v is a 50/50 joint venture between the association of the PNA nations and Sustunable B.V of the Netherlands, a company which since 2008 has been a pioneer in developing and marketing tuna caught exclusively on free schools, and without the use of FADs.

Does Pacifical Fish, Process, Sell and Invoice Tuna products?
No, Pacifical does not fish, process, sell or invoice any tuna products. The company is purely a marketing service organization that focuses on developing global markets and customers for MSC certified tuna caught within the PNA waters, as well as guarding the integrity of the entire MSC Chain of Custody, from the moment of catch to delivery to the consumer. Pacifical has MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) with many partners that fish, process, sell and deliver the MSC tuna from the PNA.

What is the percentage of the world’s tuna found in the PNA area?
About 25% of the world’s tuna is caught each year within PNA waters. These territorial waters cover an area 40% bigger than the European Union.

Who manages the tuna stocks in the PNA?
Pacifical MSC certified skipjack and yellowfin tuna is caught in the PNA waters. These waters are jointly managed by the PNA countries. These are island nations that take part in the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). The WCPFC is the Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) in this ocean area. The WCPFC employs scientists who analyze all the data being generated by the onboard observers and regularly assesses the health of regional tuna stocks. All member nations of the WCPFC, the resource owners and the fishing countries, come together to try and jointly agree on how to manage WCPO stocks.

What is the eligible volume of MSC tuna that can be caught in PNA waters?
The eligible volume of MSC Pacifical tuna that can be caught in the PNA is 800,000mt (600,000mt SKJ and 200,000mt YF), which is about 20% of the global tuna catch.

What does eligible catch volume mean?
Not all the tuna that is caught in the PNA waters is MSC certified; only when a vessel and/or carrier have met the strict criteria on the MSC certified fishing method and this tuna is kept segregated at all times, from the moment it's caught until it reaches the processing plant, will this catch get an MSC trip Batch certificate from the PNA Office. Prior to this certificate being granted, the tuna is just “eligible”.

Which tuna products can Pacifical offer?
Pacifical offers sustainable products packed from only two types of tuna: MSC certified sustainably caught free school skipjack and yellowfin tuna. From these two species a wide range of frozen, pre-cooked, canned, pouched, and dried products are created.

What is the size, age and growth rate of SKJ?
The absolute maximum length of a skipjack tuna is about 108 cm fork-length with a maximum weight of 32.5 to 34.5 kg. However, nowadays a more common size is about 50 cm fork-length and 2.5 kg in weight. The lifecycle of a skipjack is around 3 years.

What is the size, age and growth rate of YF?
Yellowfin tuna grows fairly fast, up to 175 kg, and has a somewhat short life span of around 7 years. Yellowfin reach the status of mature by the time they are a length of 105 cm in fork-length or about 25kg, at an age of about 2 to 3 years. However minimum fork-length of first maturation have been effectively observed at the size of 70 to 80cm, at an age of around 12 to 15 months.

What is the Pacifical Sustainable Catching Method?
Pacifical tuna is caught by a method called “purse seining on free schools”, by setting and encircling a net around only free swimming schools of skipjack and yellowfin tuna. These large industrial fishing vessels (purse seiners) encircle schools of adult fish, pull a large net around them, and then close the net at the bottom, creating a purse.

This purse is then tightened so that all the fish comes together tightly. After this, the tuna is scooped out and loaded into the freezing wells of the boat. The fish is frozen onboard within minutes after the catch, preserving the highest level of quality.

What is the Stock Status of Skipjack and Yellowfin Tuna in the Western Central Pacific?
Skipjack and yellowfin tuna in the Western Central Pacific Ocean are stable; they are not overfished or overexploited. Both stocks are in a healthy state.

Why buy a “sustainable MSC certified skipjack” if the skipjack stock is not overfished?
The urgent need for the sustainable catch of skipjack is not solely focused on the conservation of the species, but above all on the reduction and elimination of the by-catch of non-targeted species, often baby bigeye tuna, from the unsustainable catching method often used to catch skipjack: purse seining on FADs.

What are FADs?
FAD stands for “Fish Aggregating Device”: Manmade floating objects put in the marine ecosystem to accumulate skipjack tuna in particular (the most common tuna species in the ocean). But within weeks an entire ocean ecosystem starts to group underneath the FAD and therefore the device not only attracts tuna in large quantities, but also turtles, sharks and many juvenile tuna (bigeye and yellowfin), which are not targeted catch.

The small skipjack caught on FADs are mostly mature, around 1.8 kg to 2.0 kg, but the yellowfin and bigeye caught in the same net are often the same size (juvenile). This is where the ecosystem is being harmed the most. The larger yellowfin and bigeye only become mature when they are from 18 kg or more, so if caught at about 2.0 kg or less, it means they will never reproduce. Often, the amount that these juvenile tuna species make up of FAD catch is between 20-25%.

Why do all these species accumulate under a FAD?
The reason why drifting ocean communities of sea life accumulate under the FAD is debated, however the most common used explanation is that FADs create a shade and disruption of the light coming from the ocean surface. Such environment provides protection to juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tuna, while also giving them a good food supply of various tiny fish, which increases their chances of survival.

What is the difference between FAD and FAD free?
Click here to find information on this.

Is PACIFICAL tuna caught in a sustainable way?
The Pacifical MSC certified fishing method sets nets only on free swimming schools of skipjack tuna; schools cannot be on a FAD and as a matter of fact the schools do need to be a minimum of one nautical mile away from any FAD. Fishing on free schools minimizes by-catch problems, and predominantly mature skipjack of more than 1.8 kg is caught. This is because schools often consist of mature fish, usually of the same sizes. Very few baby tunas are caught on free schools, and almost no juvenile bigeye and yellowfin.

Our PNA skipjack and yellowfin free school fishery has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which guarantees the total sustainability of the product. Our Chain of Custody is one of the most extensive MSC COCs available, due to high complexity of the supply chain related to purse seine tuna catch in the extensive PNA waters.

What is the Chain of Custody (COC)?
The Chain of Custody (COC) basically means that there is a process or system in place assuring that, when skipjack tuna is caught, it is confirmed as free school; all the criteria on the sustainable approved fishing method and area are met; and that this tuna is kept totally separate from any unsustainable catch, from the moment it's caught until it reaches the final consumer. 

What are the quality standards of tuna products carrying the Pacifical and MSC logos?
Products carrying the Pacifical and MSC logo have no pre-set standards in terms of quality and taste, only on sustainability and social accountability. Pacifical is involved in all elements, which are related to the development, catching, processing, distribution and marketing of the product. However quality standards are set by the brand or retailer.

Is there whole year around MSC SKJ and YF tuna available from the PNA waters?
Yes, there is free school catch available throughout the year. Peak season is during a period of 4 months (July to October), when FAD fishing is forbidden in the PNA and WCPO region.

Which MSC certifications does the PNA fishery hold?
PNA holds an MSC Fishery Certificate and MSC Chain of Custody Certificate.

What does MSC stand for and where can I find more info?
MSC stands for Marine Stewardship Council. More info can be found at: https://www.msc.org

How traceable are the products from Pacifical?
We can provide 100% traceability from sea to shelf to any of our customers.  

This is how it works in practice: An MSC trip number and an MSC trained observer would be assigned by the PNA Office to a fishing vessel. The observer onboard updates the catching data several times per day via satellite, using a tablet, which feeds the PNA computer system “FIMS” with data such as species, quantity, location, amount of catch and bycatch and all the other catch related data. The FIMS data system is directly linked to our Pacifical IT platform.

The processor connects the production batch number online in the Pacifical system with the MSC trip number under which the fish was caught. Then, by only entering the tracking code or scanning a QR code on the pack, distributors and consumers around the world can verify the sustainable method with which their tuna was caught, where and when it was caught, by which vessel, and when and where it was processed.

What is the average by-catch of Bigeye tuna by FAD vs Free school?
By-catch rates for bigeye tuna when using FADs is about 6.8% vs <1% when catching on free schools.

In which FAO zones are the MSC SKJ and YF tuna caught?
In FAO zone 77 and 71. The majority of the MSC tuna is caught in zone 77.

What is PNA’s share in terms of tuna catches within the WCPO?
Approximately 70% of the Western Central Pacifical Ocean catch comes from PNA Waters.

What do NGOs think about Pacifical and MSC tuna from the PNA waters?
The three most influential conservation organizations worldwide: Greenpeace, WWF and PEW, have strongly supported Pacifical and PNA since the beginning, even with a joint statement.

“Pew, Greenpeace, and WWF wish to congratulate the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) for their increased commitments to the sustainable management of their tuna fisheries. PNA countries have taken steps that make them leaders in the implementation of the ecosystem approach to the management of tuna... 

The PNA approach to fisheries management has gone beyond traditional single-species management, and more fully embraces the ecosystem approach.... 

Specifically, the PNA should be praised for further advancing international standards by committing to independent at-sea observers to verify catches of dolphins, sharks, whales, and turtles on purse seine vessels... 

If you would like to see the full statement of three NGOs, please click here.

Does Pacifical have Social Accountability Guidelines for Purse Seine Tuna Fishing Vessels?
Pacifical has established Social Accountability Guidelines for all vessels involved in its MSC certified sustainable tuna fishery. The new guidelines are unique, as they cover over 300 industrial fishing and transport vessels from more than 10 different nations, working in one of world’s most complex and extensive seafood supply chains. The aim behind this initiative is to safeguard the welfare of the over 5,000 crew members living onboard these vessels, which fish and distribute tuna in the remote waters of PNA Pacific island nations.

What is a Pacifical MOU?
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a nonbinding agreement between Pacifical and the company willing to process, market and sell MSC tuna from the PNA waters. It outlines the terms and details of an understanding between Pacifical and its fishing, processing, distribution and trading partners on how to work together.

What is the price difference between MSC tuna and FAD caught tuna in the market?

The average premium paid for MSC PNA skipjack/yellowfin, based on today’s pricing, is about 20% over the CFR DP price for the comparable product specification processed from FAD caught raw material, in a cannery or processing facility, and nation which meets the same quality and sanitary conditions, delivery period and terms.

How do I know for sure if the tuna is from Pacifical and the PNA waters?
All tuna processed from PNA MSC certified tuna will carry the Pacifical logo. 

Is MSC tuna from PNA waters dolphin friendly?
Yes, within the Western Central Pacific the observed catches of dolphins and other marine mammals is very low, e.g. around 0.0009% for six different dolphin species. The discard rate is very high (over 99%) and post-release survival chances are high.

Furthermore, during the MSC assessment this situation was studied and the information gathered provides independent and peer reviewed evidence that the purse seine setting on unassociated (non-FAD) free schools of the PNA fishery is not targeting, or harming any species of dolphin.

To meet the MSC standard a fishery must be able to demonstrate that it does not put at risk population levels of species caught incidentally (bycatch), including dolphins, other mammals and/or other endangered and threatened species.

What are the benefits of eating tuna?
Tuna is an excellent source of protein and much lower in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than many other protein products. The majority of fat in tuna comes from Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA), which are important in reducing the risk of heart disease.

Is Pacifical tuna Wild or Farmed?
Wild; MSC certified tuna can only be wild caught.

Where can I find Pacifical tuna in the market?
Mostly in bigger supermarkets in Australia, USA and Europe. You can find more information about this here.

How to get in touch with Pacifical?
For more information about Pacifical and the PNA, please visit our website: www.pacifical.com

PACIFICAL cv
Meerpaal 6
4904 SK Oosterhout
The Netherlands
E-mail: info@pacifical.com
Phone: +31 (0) 162 43 05 20
Fax: +31 (0) 162 43 05 25
Stay up-to-date on the development of Pacifical MSC Tuna.

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