The country recently co-hosted the first United Nations Ocean Conference, and the association has made this commitment to ensure that targeted stocks are sustainably managed and to benefit from the eco-labelling of their catch, which they believe will greatly impact the Fijian economy and ensure the health of the local marine environment. The Fijian Ministry of Fisheries also sees certification as a critical incentive to ensure the traceability of vessels and fish species.
Thirty-four vessels in Fiji’s tuna longline fleet are already MSC certified for albacore tuna and are currently undergoing their second assessment for the renewal of their certificate. They also plan to extend the certification to include yellowfin tuna and to expand the fishing area to include three high seas next to Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
“Sixty percent of the Fijian population are coastal dwellers and hence, sustaining the wealth of our oceans is imperative for the socio-economic prosperity of our nation and people. Fiji’s significant commitment amongst the international community reaffirms our steadfastness in being responsible custodians of the oceans, fish stocks, marine life and its ecosystem for generations to come,” said Anare Raiwalui, Executive Officer of the Fiji Fishing Industry Association (FFIA), Suva ,Fiji.
“By certifying our fishing practices to the requirements of the MSC, the world’s highest and most credible science, evidence based standard for sustainable fishing, Fiji is establishing a promising momentum as a forward-thinking nation, determined to deliver traceable, sustainable seafood,” he continued.
“The fishing industry in Fiji is central to the life of Fijians and is of huge economic value to the island nation, being one of the key economic drivers, so ensuring the sustainability of local fish stocks and the greater marine environment is incredibly important. The MSC has been engaged with the Fijian fishing industry since the albacore longline fishery entered pre-assessment in 2007 and we welcome this latest commitment from the Fiji Fishing Industry Association, which will hopefully see a much larger proportion of the marine ecosystem safeguarded for the future,” said Anne Gabriel, Oceania Program Director of the Marine Stewardship Council.