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North Pacific Albacore Fisheries Earn Certification


CANADA AND US - Two North Pacific albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) fisheries operating in US, Canadian and international waters have been awarded certification under the Marine Stewardship Councils (MSC) programME for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

Products from the fisheries will now be eligible to bear the MSC ecolabel recognising seafood from well-managed and sustainable sources.

The Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation (CHMSF) troll/jig fishery and the US-based Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA) troll/jig and pole/line fisheries were the clients for the assessments which took place simultaneously. Their tuna fishing vessels operate from the coastal waters of California north to British Columbia and across the North Pacific nearly to the coast of Japan.

The North Pacific albacore tuna fishing season runs from May through October. The combined catch for these fisheries is between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tons. Preliminary 2009 reports show the British Columbia fleet harvest at about 5,450 metric tons and US troll and pole landings at 11,580 metric tons. Approximately 60 per cent of the tuna from these fisheries goes to Asia and Europe with 10 per cent to US canning companies. The remaining 30 per cent is sold into US and Canadian markets for domestic consumption. Albacore tuna is marketed as fresh, fresh-frozen and canned product with canned product accounting for the majority of the catch.