Certifier : 
Lloyds Register (Acoura)
Certified status : 
Certified
Certified since : 
13 Dec 2012
Certificate expires : 
22 Jan 2023

About

Albacore tuna is a highly migratory pelagic fish species found throughout the world’s tropical and sub-tropical oceans. Albacore matures relatively early, at around six years, and has a moderate lifespan of about 10-12 years. It also produces many eggs at a time – some 2.6 million at each spawning.

The albacore tuna in the South Pacific Ocean comprises a discrete stock. Its population status is considered healthy.

The Fiji albacore tuna longline fishery began operating in the early 1980s. It accounts for 65% of Fiji’s national tuna catch and is of high economic importance to the island nation.

In recent years, most longline vessels operating out of Fiji are above 21m and stay at sea for around 3 weeks. The smaller vessels (<20m) operate inside Fiji archipelagic waters with average trip lengths of 9 days.

The longline fishing method involves setting a main line from a large reel, with baited hooks and floats attached at regular intervals. The floats suspend the main line in the water column at a depth of around 300-400m to target albacore tuna.

The bycatch of turtles and seabirds is extremely low and all crew on board vessels are trained and equipped to release any turtles. As a condition of certification, a reporting system has been put in place to record any interactions with turtles and seabirds. This will enable managers to determine any possible negative impacts on endangered, threatened or protected species, and develop a full strategy to manage these.

The fishery is also refining harvest control rules and management measures to protect vulnerable shark species.

“We’re the first Pacific tuna fishery to sell our products direct to Europe with the complete chain of custody in place. Before MSC certification, our albacore would go straight to canneries but now we are able to market it as a sustainable, fully traceable premium tuna to be served as delicious steaks in Europe.”

- Radhika Kumar, General Manager, Solander – one of the companies in the Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association (FTBOA)

Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book