tuna fish

Tuna suppliers have signed a partnership deal with NGOs and the Seychelles government to launch a Fishery Improvement Project to protect fish stocks in the Indian Ocean.

The FIP agreement has been signed by 17 organisations, including WWF, Princes, John West owner Thai Union and the Seychelles. Madagascar and Mauritius have also “indicated interest”.

The partnership follows an interim deal struck last October to protect stocks.

The project will work towards meeting the sustainability standards set by the Marine Stewardship Council, which dictates that fisheries should be managed so that fish stocks remain healthy and the impact on the environment is minimised.

It will support the development of harvest strategies for tuna, ensure management measures are in place to maintain target and secondary species above biological limits, and provide a framework to manage the ecosystem impacts associated with purse seine fishing.

The FIP will cover catches of three tuna species: skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye, across 40 French, Italian, Spanish, Mauritius and Seychelles-flagged purse seine vessels.

“This is a very encouraging development towards better tuna fishing and management in the Indian Ocean,” said Tracy Cambridge, fisheries and seafood manager at WWF. “The FIP has brought together a huge range of organisations and demonstrated the meaningful impact that a collaborative, industry-led approach can deliver.”

“With the planned establishment of an executive committee and FIP project management team, we look forward to continuing our work to ensure fisheries that are critical in the region can work towards achieving the MSC standard.”