November 2012 – Friend of the Sea and Earth Island Institute's Dolphin-Safe program announce certification of the first tuna lot caught by deploying nets on free schools of tuna, not associated with Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) or dolphins. The launch is part of effort by the two major NGOs to provide companies and consumers more transparency on the fishing gears used to catch the tuna.
Other fishing methods, such as pole and line or selective FADs initiatives can also be certified as part of the program. The certification is open to all those companies which are approved Friend of the Sea and Dolphin Safe. The company delivering the first lot of FREE SCHOOL tuna is Frabelle from Philippines, but other two have already applied to undergo audit. The audit is run by international certification bodies and based on official independent observers onboard.
"The objective of the certification" explains Paolo Bray, director of Friend of the Sea "is to allow companies and consumers to know the fishing method used to catch the tuna - not to discredit specific fishing methods. Purse seining and pole and line, whether on FADs or free schools, are among the most selective fishing methods as they target single species schools. Use of FADs can be fuel efficient but sometimes less selective on tuna juveniles. Pole and line itself catches immature yellowfin and bigeye. We hope that more transparency on the fishing method will lead fleets to improve their gears and management. We expect soon to be able to certify tuna lots from higher selectivity FADs."
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Friend of the Sea
Friend of the Sea is an international non-profit certification scheme for products from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Certified products are fished from not overexploited nor IUCN Redlisted stocks and with selective methods which do not impact the seabed. Those originate from aquaculture are reared with respect of critical habitat, with no use of antifoulants, GMOS and growth hormones.
Earth Island Institute
Earth Island Institute is a non-profit, public interest, membership organization that supports people who are creating solutions to protect our shared planet. The Project Support program acts as an incubator for start-up environmental projects, giving crucial assistance to groups and individuals with new ideas for promoting ecological sustainability. Since its founding, EII has provided fiscal sponsorship to more than 100 projects around the globe.
Earth Island's unique International Monitoring Program maintains twelve staff members in seven countries around the world, who regularly inspect tuna in canneries, at dockside, and aboard fishing vessels in order to insure consumers that the tuna they buy is truly “dolphin safe“. This is the largest private environmental monitoring program in the world. The program generated agreements with more than 300 tuna companies around the world, including all major tuna processors.