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At the first-ever St Helena Conference 2018: Diverse Island Environments, the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) made the point that ocean conservation and profitable fisheries can work handin-hand.

While launching the Foundation’s new film,’St Helena Tuna- The one-by-one philosophy’, Director of Policy & Outreach Adam Baske also spoke about the groundbreaking project launched by the IPNLF, the St Helena Government and the St Helena Government and the St Helena Fisheries Corporation, with support from the local fishermen, which prohibits all types of destructive fishing gear in a vast ocean area surrounding the island nation. The project aims to establish best-practice traceability, transparency and data recording systems whle also working to deliver better returns through quality improvements and market gateways.

Source: INFOFISH International 3/2018

Ecuador's Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries and the conservation organization WWF have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the sustainable management of fisheries and the competitiveness of the fishing sector. The agreement, signed in Manta, ratifies the government's commitment to ensure the responsible capture of fishery resources and includes WWF's support in the process of designing and implementing improvement projects as well as the conservation and management of the species.

The parties highlighted the importance of fishery resources for the Ecuadorian economy and society as well as the need to promote fisheries management and the competitiveness of the fishing sector, with an ecosystem approach to ensure that these resources continue to be used in a sustainable manner. The cooperation agreement, which will be valid for four years, also seeks to deepen the economic and environmental benefits of the fishing activity, which represented revenues in foreign currency of the country for US$ 1,559.3 million in 2017.

Source: FIS, 4 April 2018

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has published the first list of foreign fisheries, detailing the risks that commercial fishing around the world pose to marine mammals. It offers us a better understanding of the impacts of marine mammal bycatch, an improvement of tools and scientific approaches to mitigating those impacts, and establishes a new level of international cooperation in achieving these objectives.

The register is a step toward meeting specific requirements in the Marine Mammal Protection Act on the sources of fish imported into the US. It includes nearly 4,000 fisheries across some 135 countries. These fisheries have until 2022 to demonstrate that the methods they use to catch fish, as well as other marine animals such as coral, crabs, lobsters and shellfish, either aren’t much of a danger to marine mammals, or they employ comparable methods and mitigation measures to similar operations in the United States.

Source: Mongabay, 2 April 2018

Blockchain technology could revolutionise traceability

Published in Fisheries
Thursday, 16 August 2018 01:22

Blockchain is a new way of storing data that allows a network of computers to store tamper-proof information which can be viewed by anyone at anytime. Several organisations such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Earth Twine have launched trials to determine how the technology can be used in the seafood industry to track products from harvest to plate, including whether the seafood had been caught and processed illegally or using slave labour.

According to a release by the World Wildlife Fund, WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Australia, and WWF-Fiji have teamed up with global tech innovator ConsenSys, information and communications technology (ICT) implementer TraSeable and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji Ltd., to deliver the project in Fiji.

The WWF Blockchain Supply Chain Traceability Project will use a combination of radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, quick response (QR) code tags and scanning devices to collect information at various points along the supply chain.

The WWF Blockchain Supply Chain Traceability Project follows on the heels of a pilot project carried out by a British company, Provenence, in collaboration with the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF). This project successfully tracked a handline caught yellowfin tuna from Maluku, Indonesia, all the way to the UK using blockchain, demonstrating how the technology has potential to support traceability in small-scale fisheries.

Source: INFOFISH International 3/2018


A growing number of countries are signing up to a global agreement that helps stop illegal fishing, as the international community marks the first International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. IUU fishing is estimated to affect one in every five fish caught, with an annual cost of up to US$23 billion.

The date was chosen to highlight the scourge of IUU fishing because it is the anniversary of the Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) which came into force in 2016. The PSMA is the first binding international agreement that specifically targets illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. So far 54 States and the European Union have become Parties to the Agreement and many have already started implementing the provisions.

The PSMA is complemented by a suite of other instruments such as the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Flag State Performance adopted in 2014 and the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Catch Documentation Schemes adopted in 2017 to provide better and more harmonized traceability of fish along the value chain.

Source: Devdiscourse, 8 June 2018

Tuna ‘Bridging Measure’ adopted at WCPFC14

Published in Fisheries
Thursday, 16 August 2018 01:16


The 14th session of the Tuna Commission (WCPFC14) held in December 2017, adopted important measures governing tuna fishing activities for 2018 in the Western and Central Pasific Ocean. The most important decision endorsed by the Commission’s 28-member countries was agreement on a ‘Bridging Measure’ for bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin, the largest commercial harvesting activity in the WCPO fishery. This, and other measures endorsed by the Commission become legally binding in February 2018.

As it happened, February 2018 was also the month that the UN FAO released a study which revealed that approximately 60% of the world’ assessed fish stocks are fully exploited and 31% is over-fished.

The WCPO fishery is the world’s largest, producing nearly 60% of the globe’s entire tuna harvest with a catch value estimated at US$4.7 billion in 2015. For the Commission’s largest bloc, the 21 Pacific island countries and territories, a sustainable WCPO fishery is not only important for jobs and economy, it is their main source of nutrition and security.

Source: INFOFISH International 3/2018


The European Commission reported that FVO auditors had discovered that certain tuna freezer vessels used tanks destined for freezing and storing tuna fish which were also used as a reservoir for diesel. Once the diesel is used for the engine, the tanks are filled with brine and fishery products that may be exported to the EU. The Commission has informed all countries exporting fishery products of the unacceptability of this practice and requested to stop it immediately. The attention of the EU Member States involved in tuna fisheries was also drawn to this issue.

Source: Megapesca Lda Fishfiles Service


The National Measurement Institute (NMI), the government regulator for weights and measures announced a clarification of its policy on determining the net weight of frozen seafood in retail and food service packaging, after a final consultation with the industry. The policy clarification covers all species of fish, crustaceans and molluscs normally traded, but excludes value-added variations such as marinades and coated seafood products.

NMI advised that the “frozen fish method”, which is sometimes known as the partial thaw method, or Test Procedure 7.9, will be the only method applied to determining the net weight of non value-added seafood. This method does not allow for the product‟s ice glaze to be included in the weight, statement regardless of being listed in the contents or ingredients. Thus a package of shrimp labeled 1 kilogram for instance should contain 1kg of shrimp once partially thawed following the NMI‟s described procedure. The NMI advised that, effective immediately, any complaints about seafood products would be investigated using this approach only. They also advised that in the next financial year, from 1 July, they will conduct a series of targeted compliance/enforcement activities to ensure that this approach is being followed by all parties in the marketplace to maintain a level playing field.

Source: INFOFISH Trade News, No. 8/2018

Overview of Food Fraud in the Fisheries Sector

Published in Publication
Tuesday, 31 July 2018 02:40


Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1165. FAO, Rome, Italy 2018

Fish fraud is committed when fish is illegally placed on the market with the intention of deceiving the customer, usually for financial gain. However, its precise scale and nature in the wider global food market is largely unknown. This publication presents evidence highlighting the serious consequences of fraud for the fish sector. It describes the different types of fraud that can take place along the fish supply chain, for example: intentional mis-labelling, species substitution, over glazing and over breading, and the use of undeclared water-binding agents to increase weight.

This publication shows that combating fish fraud is a complex task that requires the strengthening of national food regulatory programmes and the development of effective, science-based traceability systems and improved methods for fish authenticity testing. It highlights the need for the fish industry to develop and implement systems for fish fraud vulnerability assessment in order to identify potential sources of fish fraud within their supply chains and to prioritize control measures to minimize the risk of receiving fraudulent or adulterated raw materials or ingredients. The publication also indicates an important role for the Codex Alimentarius Commission – to work in collaboration with countries in order to develop international principles and guidelines designed to identify, manage and mitigate fraudulent practices in food trade and to develop guidelines to standardize food safety management systems for fish fraud vulnerability assessment.

Publication Link:

USA: Marine Mammal Protection Act

Published in North American
Tuesday, 31 July 2018 02:33


The US Marine Mammal Protection Act came into force on January 1st 2017, and will require countries exporting fisheries products to the USA to introduce provisions to reduce marine mammal bycatch in their fisheries. The requirement is to establish regulatory programmes for marine mammal conservation that are comparable in effectiveness to the US programme. This may include assessing marine mammal stocks, estimating bycatch, and mitigating that bycatch to levels comparable with US regulatory programs in an analogous domestic fishery.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries has established a 5-year exemption period in order to allow other countries who export fish and fishery products to the USA the time necessary to develop appropriate systems and present the “comparability findings” which will be required for imports from 1st January 2022.

NOAA Fisheries will notify the nations with commercial fishing operations that export fish or fish products to the United States and request that within 90 days of notification that the nations submit information about the commercial fishing operations identified. After the conclusion of the one-time five-year exemption period, any new Country or fishery that has not previously exported to the United States, and that wishes to commence exports, will be granted a provisional comparability finding for a period not to exceed twelve months. After that period, they will be required to have the necessary programmes in place or they will not be permitted to export their products to the USA. Some Countries, notably the UK and Canada, have already made representation to NOAA to clarify their position with regard to aquaculture products and are awaiting an official response.

Source: NOAA Fisheries and Chris Leftwich, IAFI Board Member

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