Handline caught yellowfin tuna from Ocean Fresh Pvt Ltd is now certified Friend of the Sea sustainable.

This was announced by Friend of the Sea while telling the media about the certification of yellowfin tuna caught by handline method in the Maldives and processed in ‘loins’ by Ocean Fresh Pvt Ltd. Tuna, or tunny, loins are the largest cuts of meat that processors cut from a whole tuna fish. There are four loins on each fish: two dorsal loins and two belly loins.

The handline fishing method is becoming an important alternative to the pole and line fishing in the Maldives, as the bigger – 30kgs average – yellowfin tuna has a higher market value than pole and line caught skipjack. The fishing season peaks from November to March and the same traditional pole and line vessels have now been equipped with cold storage and handlines. The fleet operates 200 to 300km away from the coast, in the Indian Ocean.

According to the press release all vessels are registered and carry mandatory logbooks reporting discard of less than 1%, consisting mainly of skipjack tuna – skipjack are the smallest and most abundant of the major commercial tuna species.. Fishermen are instructed de-hook endangered species which might be accidentally caught. A ten-year ban on any form of shark fishing is implemented. The fishery management activities in the Maldives comprise licensing schemes, quotas and prohibitions, bans and levying royalties.

Also, it is reported that the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s (IOTC) Yellowfin Multifan-CL stock assessments published in November 2012 confirms that Biomass is above and fishing mortality is below Maximum Sustainable Yield, thus not over-exploited. As a precautionary approach, the IOTC develops and monitors stock-specific reference points and indicators to ensure the sustainable utilization of fisheries resources.

Further, fish trimmings are collected in separate room and used for fish meal, while plastic waste is appropriately disposed of. All workers are above 20 years old and paid in conformance with legal wages. The company provides the emergency transport to medical care at the closest island and gives coverage of all work related medical expenses.

“Ocean Fresh is proud to be a Friend of the Sea” commented Mr Abbas Mohamed – Managing Director of Ocean Fresh – “This recognition to our conservation efforts adds up to the Dolphin-Safe and the MFDA certifications”.

The company is clearly setting a high standard and is a worthy reference that needs to be followed.