PNA Has Started Its MSC Reassessment – FADs and Bigeye Included

The PNA has started the process of MSC recertification for the entire PNA purse seine fishery, which will now be assessed against the new MSC standard (V2.01). The reassessment includes Freeschool and FAD – skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye. The Announcement Comment Draft Report (ACDR) has been published last week in the MSC website. Our Pacifical team is happy to share this news with each one of you. 

The outcome of the last year’s attempt to get a scope extension for bigeye and FADs was disappointing, but it only strengthened the determination of our region to prove that our fishery is fully sustainable, and it encouraged the Pacific nations to not give up on its position. At Pacifical we are confident this process is on track to result in a positive outcome. 

Flashback: The second half of 2022  the PNA went through a lengthy and arduous dispute process of adjudication. The objection prevented the PNA, the world’s largest, the best managed and most sustainable fishery to get MSC for for bigeye and FAD captures. The decision confused stakeholders since multiple tuna fishing companies operating in PNA waters had already obtained FAD and bigeye MSC certifications without any objection whatsoever. There are now 11 certified purse seine fisheries, of which 10 hold the sustainable logo for bigeye. The paradox was simply-put, mind blowing. How most of these 11 certifications could pass on bigeye, all of them on FADs, yet the group of island nations that manage these waters and monitor these companies day in and day out would be denied? Same waters, same gear, same vessels and same management measures? We have now entered into round two. The world is watching.

The ACDR is available for comments until April 23. Stakeholders who wish to raise any remarks must contact the CAB in charge, Acoura Marine Ltd (9(LRQA).

Update on Compartmentalization Rule:

The deadline for the MSC compartmentalization rule has been extended to 21 September 2023.

This is an important topic. As you might recall, the addition of FADs to the current certification was not one PNA willingly decided to take on, it was rather forced upon the island nations after pressure by certain commercial market parties and NGOs. This is the same group who submitted the objection for FAD scope extension and earlier demanded an end to compartmentalization. Compartmentalization means having MSC and non-MSC fish onboard a seiner, segregated in compartments.  This change in the MSC rules now requires the PNA MSC certified fishery to include not only free school sets but also FAD sets. The effective date of this new MSC requirement was initially set for March 25, 2023, on PNA’s request the deadline has now been extended to 21 September 2023.

We are thankful to all Pacifical partners for their support to the PNA island communities throughout this process by continuing to source MSC skipjack and yellowfin from their waters . We will continue to keep you posted.