The Right Tuna
 
Pacifical offers sustainable products packed from only two types of tuna: MSC certified sustainably caught free school skipjack and yellowfin tuna.
 
 
English: Skipjack Tuna
Latin: Katsuwonus Pelamis
Size + Weight: Average today abt 50 cm abt 2.5 kg
Catching Methods: Mostly purse seining (PACIFICAL only purse seining on free swimming schools) - FAD-free
Share of all Tuna Caught in the World: About 50-55% or 2.200.000 m/t
Life Cycle: About 3 years max.
 
 
English: Yellowfin Tuna
Latin: Thunnus albacares
Size + Weight: Average today abt 105 cm abt 25 kg
Catching Methods: Mostly purse seining (PACIFICAL only purse seining on free swimming schools) - FAD-free
Share of all Tuna Caught in the World: About 41% or 1,982,578 m/t
Life Cycle: About 7 years max.
 
 
Find out how our tuna is caught and produced by watching our other videos
 
Their Size, Age, and Growth rate
 
The 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.
 
Yellowfin tuna grow fairly fast, up to 175 kgs, and have a somewhat short life span of about 7 years. Yellowfin reach the status of mature by the time they reach a length of 105 cm in fork length or about 25 kgs 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 80 cm in fork length at an age of about 12 to 15 months.
 
How do skipjack and yellowfin reproduce?
 
Skipjack tuna spawn all year-round in the warm equatorial waters, while further away from the equator spawning season is limited to the warmer months.
 
Who manages the stock?
 
Pacifical MSC certified skipjack and yellowfin tuna have all been caught in PNA waters . These waters are managed by the PNA countries themselves, in a way compatible with WCPFC measures. The WCPFC is the Regional Fishing management Organization or RFMO in this ocean area. The RFMO for the area of the PNA is named WCPFC ( Western Central Pacific Fishing Commission). The WCPFC employs scientists who assess regularly the health of the Pacifical tuna stocks, throughout the range of the high seas stock.
 
How do you catch skipjack and yellowfin?
 
The oldest method of catching skipjack and yellowfin is pole and line, catching them manually one by one. You can imagine that this is a very labor intensive and high cost way to catch these fish, and the volumes are no way enough to feed the world population. A concern with pole and line fishing is the impact of the bait required on the reef eco-systems.
 
After the second world war a more efficient way of fishing was introduced called purse seining, this means that a large boat encircles a school of tunas, pulls a large net around them, and then this net is closed at the bottom creating a purse. This purse is tightened so all tuna comes together tightly, at which moment they are scooped out and loaded into the freezing wells of the boat. Today more than 80% of all skipjack in caught by purse seiners.
 
Stock status of skipjack and yellowfin tuna around the world:
 
Ocean Regional Management Organization State of Stock Last RFMO Assessment
Indian Ocean IOTC Moderately exploited Year 2014
Eastern Pacific Ocean IATTC Moderately exploited Year 2014
Western and Central Pacific Ocean WCPFC Moderately exploited Year 2014
Eastern Atlantic Ocean ICCAT Moderately exploited Year 2014
Western Atlantic Ocean ICCAT Moderately exploited Year 2014
 
Ocean Regional Management Organization State of Stock Last RFMO Assessment
Atlantic Ocean ICCAT Overfished Year 2014
Indian Ocean IOTC Moderately exploited Year 2014
Eastern Pacific Ocean IATTC Fully exploited Year 2014
Western and Central Pacific Ocean WCPFC Moderately exploited Year 2014
 
NOT OVERFISHED
 
Populations of skipjack and yellowfin tuna in the Western Central Pacific Ocean are stable, not overexploited, and in a healthy state. No overfishing is taking place and skipjack/yellowfin tuna is not listed as a threatened or endangered species.
 
Abt. 1,057,132 Metric Tonnes of Skipjack was caught in 2014 in PNA waters
 
With about 2,782,883 tonnes of skipjack being caught in the world’s oceans, about 40% of the world supply of skipjack comes from the waters of the PNA.
 
This makes these Pacifical nations the single most important source of raw material for the global tuna canning industry. Most cans of tuna contain skipjack tuna.
 
PNA is also the first major fishery to achieve MSC certification for yellowfin catch. The certification covers around 140,000 tons of free school yellowfin tuna. This makes up around half of the total free school yellowfin catch in the PNA region, and around 27 percent of that in the WCPFC convention area.
 
Of all tuna caught in our waters almost 80% is skipjack, 18% yellowfin and 2 % bigeye.
 
 
WHY should you buy MSC certified skipjack tuna if the stock is not overfished?
 
Most seafood buying guides will show the skipjack and yellowfin tuna as an orange or even sometimes green colored option to buy, which indicates that it is not overfished.
 
The need for MSC certification for the skipjack and yellowfin fisheries is not firstly related to the catch of skipjack, but the worry over the by-catch of non-targeted species which are also caught when nets are set on FAD’s.
 
When using FAD’s to target only one species of tuna : skipjack. The other species of tuna which are caught on FAD’s are not intentionally targeted but come along as by-catch, these are in most case baby yellowfin tuna and baby bigeye tuna, and this is a major concern.
 
The 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. This is where the big problem with the FAD fisheries of skipjack is. Yellowfin and bigeye only become mature when they are about 18 Kg or more, so when caught at about 2.0 Kg or less they will never reproduce. Often the amount of these baby tuna’s is between 20 and 25%. That’s bad news.
 
A free school caught mature skipjack
 
Scientists have found that especially the bigeye tuna, although a low percentage of the catch, has been heavily negatively affected by the FAD method, and that species in most oceans is being heavily fished or being overfished. That means if we continue to fish with FAD’s at the same rate, the big-eye tuna will eventually disappear and we run the risk also the yellowfin tuna will go the same route.
 
Another worry of the catch of skipjack is the by-catch (about 2%) of species, like sharks, turtles and mantas. These are all vulnerable species, and need to grow quite old to re-produce.
 
Pacifical promotes setting nets on free swimming schools of skipjack and yellowfin tuna (meaning they are not attracted by using a FAD) this does not cause by-catch problems, and pre-dominantly mature skipjack are being caught. This is because in schools attract often mature fish or the same sizes. Very few baby tunas are caught in schools, almost no juvenile big-eye and yellowfin.
 
How do I know that PACIFICAL tuna is caught in a sustainable way?
 
The fact that our tuna is MSC certified ensures the total sustainability of the product since the MSC certification assessment involves a very rigorous chain of Custody that oversees the tuna from sea to shelve. Now that the PNA waters are MSC certified there is concrete evidence and witnesses verifying and supervising that the skipjack and yellowfin caught and used by Pacifical is sourced from MSC certified FAD-free tuna caught by vessels participating under the PNA MSC free school skipjack and yellowfin scheme.
 
In the meantime the Pacifical people of the PNA have already taken far reaching measures to preserve their tuna. The Pacifical countries are leaders in taking many world class and innovative initiatives to preserve their tuna stocks.
 
  • Ban transshipment in high seas
  • VMS – satellite tracking on all licensed boats
  • 100% observers at sea
  • 100% catch retention of tunas – no discards
  • Port sampling
  • tagging
  • Designated transshipment ports
  • Effort controls under VDS [vessel day scheme]
  • 3 month ban on all FAD fishing
  • Closure of 2 high seas pockets to PNA licensed Purse seiners
  • Ban on targeting of whale sharks
 
Current initiatives under introduction or development include:
 
  • E-forms – to be completed by the captain while at sea to give live catch data
  • Crew training schemes on sustainability
  • Regional observer coordination
  • Expanding the 3 month FAD ban to 6 months
  • Minimum mesh regulations – to ensure small fish can escape
 
PACIFICAL Approach for Skipjack and Yellowfin
 
NO skipjack or yellowfin tuna under Pacifical logo can be caught through the use of FAD’s by purse seiners, or using driftnets or gillnets, bottom trawling or obtained through illegal fishing.
 
ONLY skipjack and yellowfin which has been caught by setting nets on free swimming schools and skipjack which have had a full breeding life and a weight between 1.8 and 5.0 kgs.
 
ONLY skipjack and yellowfin caught by purse seiners setting their nets on free swimming schools. We assure that our methods have an absolute minimum by-catch or no by-catch, and leave the eco-system balance intact. Trained PNA observers on-board will assure that these goals are met.
 
ONLY skipjack and yellowfin that we are 101% certain is free school and mature tuna would be eligible for the PACIFICAL logo. We are assuring with 100% confidence that MSC eligible tuna is kept separated from any other tunas from the net to the can.
Stay up-to-date on the development of Pacifical MSC Tuna.

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