Responsible tuna fishing as a guarantee of sustainable future

The first tins of tuna with the “responsibly fished” label reach spanish supermarkets

The first tins of tuna with the "responsibly fished" label reach spanish supermarkets

In June Spanish consumers will be able to buy the first tins of tuna bearing the AENOR Conform Responsibly Fished Tuna seal off Spanish distributors’ shelves, right on schedule according to the forecasts made last October by the Spanish tuna fleet organisation OPAGAC. Garavilla, the canning company that owns the Isabel brand, and Sálica, the canning company that owns the Campos brand, will be the first to offer products with the new seal. End consumers can rely on the seal to guarantee that products come from a sustainable, socially responsible source.

The certified tins will gradually be distributed over the entire country and will contain some of Spain’s most popular foods, like tuna in vegetable oil (Isabel) and light tuna in extra virgin olive oil (Isabel and Campos). The first lot Isabel is slated to distribute will contain 500,000 tins. In addition, both companies anticipate applying the new certificate to their entire product range in the not-too-distant future.

Government Backing

The new certificate is the outcome of a project begun in 2016 by the members of the Spanish tuna fleet that are in OPAGAC. The project’s now-completed objective is to offer end consumers a choice:  They can buy products that are not only environmentally and biologically sustainable, but also produced under responsible shipboard working conditions, as opposed to illegally fished products.

The magnitude of the project, the only one of its kind in the world, has received the support of the Spanish government right from the start. The official presentation of its completion took place the last 6 June and was presided over by Alicia Villauriz, Secretary-General for Fisheries.

The new certificate is the result of the merger of two of the tuna fleet’s voluntary initiatives, its FIP Fisheries Improvement Project and its push to have all OPAGAC/AGAC vessels certified by AENOR as compliant with the UNE standard for RFT (Responsibly Fished Tuna) by July 2017.

After the fleet was certified, AENOR began certifying tinned tuna processing and distribution firms’ chain of custody in March of this year, thus closing the project circle by adding certification of tuna-canning activities on land to certification of tuna-fishing activities at sea (under UNE 195006) and covering the process end to end, from the ocean to the table. AENOR Conform RFT certification is entirely voluntary and is open to any tuna vessel or canning company in the world.

What kind of guarantee does AENOR Conform RFT give consumers?

The AENOR Conform RFT logo only goes on tins containing tuna fished by vessels certified under UNE 195006 (the Responsibly Fished Tuna Standard) and belonging to a Comprehensive FIP (Fishery Improvement Programme). The FIP (run in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund) ensures that vessels and their crews use the best practices in environmental conservation, in regard to both tropical tuna stocks and the environment of the fishing zones where our fleet operates.

The UNE Responsibly Fished Tuna Standard (certified by AENOR) is a pioneer in itself. It is the first standard the world fishing industry has ever seen that guarantees, among other things, compliance with the shipboard working conditions established by the International Labour Organisation in ILO Convention 188. This certificate guarantees that the fish which distributors are marketing and consumers are eating has been caught by companies and vessels belonging to OPAGAC, and moreover it is backed by stringent social, labour and maritime safety standards high above what the law currently requires.

Lastly, with this initiative OPAGAC, which is the first Spanish fleet to join the United Nations Global Compact, is helping reach the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030 by having a direct impact on the goals of decent work, responsible consumption, care for life below water, peace, justice and solid institutions, and partnership for the goals.

OPAGAC

C/ Ayala, nº 54
28001 Madrid
Spain
Telephone: +34 91 431 48 57
E-mail: opagac@opagac.org

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