Pacifical Applauds Call for Certified FAD-Free To Stop Fraud

Maurice Brownjohn, Director of Pacifical, applauds CEPESCA and Spanish members of the European Parliament for actively calling on independently certified FAD free tuna.

“Under these conditions (the current self-certification system), FAD-free certification by the captain himself would be presumed to be false” said Javier Garat, the Secretary General of CEPESCA and President of Europeche.

Pacifical fully agrees that FAD – Free catch should require a very stringent chain of custody (COC), as well as an independent third party certification to validate and corroborate sustainable fishing practices. The Marine Stewardship Council COC meets that requirement, and only in this way consumers can be certain that what they buy is actually what it’s claimed. Self-certification cannot deliver this with the surety demanded.

Experiences over the last 20 years with captain’s self-certification in the tuna sector has extensively proven to be too sensitive to fraudulent declarations, which has led to wide deployment of on-board observers for compliance.

We strongly believe that precautionary action for enhanced sustainability measures should not be deferred for more and more studies, seeking to find out whether the tuna stock can really be damaged or that promotion of FAD free suddenly stops because it is bad news for the tuna fishing industry, especially those fleets dependent on FADs.

So far all scientific data and research points to higher incidental catches on FADs of bigeye tuna, juvenile tuna and other non-target species including sharks. The excessive use of FADs currently presents an inevitable potential growth of the negative effect on these vulnerable non target stocks.

So we invite retailers and consumers around the world to choose for MSC certified tuna; free school or pole and line. If not available, FAD-free with a solid and independently certified COC would be a good alternative; which prevents mixing sustainable tuna with FAD caught fish on-board the purse seiner, the carrier vessel and / or at the cannery. The fact is that if these systems are fully applied, the cost for non-MSC and MSC tuna would almost become equal, and the cost of meaningful and valid separation are not a significant cost compared to potential returns.

European, North American and Australian markets have shown a keen interest in MSC certified free school, which is caught FAD free. We congratulate their commitments and look forward to continue cooperating with sustainability, transparency and traceability in each one of the markets for Pacifical MSC skipjack tuna from PNA waters.