International food and drink group Princes has confirmed it is on track to supply 100% responsibly sourced tuna by the end of 2019 for all brands in all territories, having already reached the level of 90% by the end of 2017.
In 2017, Princes was involved in the launch of two Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). In April a tuna FIP for the Indian Ocean was activated, with the signing of a partnership agreement between 17 organisations in a multi-stakeholder industry-led initiative. In November, Princes was a signatory alongside seven other organisations to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the launch of a pole and line tuna FIP in Senegal.
Princes defines responsibly sourced as fisheries that are either already certified according to the standards of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), or are involved in a time-bound Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) that is working towards achieving standards required for MSC certification. Fully traceable pole and line fisheries and catches made that are Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) free are also included.
The company is voluntarily independently audited each year against its public tuna sustainability commitments, and is also audited separately against the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s compliance measures.
David McDiarmid, Corporate Relations Director for Princes, said: “We fully understand the responsibility we have to ensure that this vital natural resource is sourced responsibly. As one of the UK’s biggest importers of tuna, the responsible sourcing of tuna stocks and playing a role in driving positive sustainable change is of crucial importance to our current and future business.
“We are pleased with the progress we have made and of the general improvements in global tuna fisheries, including the increasing adoption of FIPs towards MSC certification. We are now supplying more responsibly sourced tuna than ever before to our customers and consumers.
“Our participation in FIPs has been a significant step, but we also appreciate that FIPs require close attention until they deliver fully certified MSC tuna. Beyond 2019, we will remain fully committed to the responsible sourcing of tuna for all brands in all countries in which we operate.”
The MSC is an independent non-profit organisation, which sets a standard for sustainable fishing. It is the world’s leading eco label in relation to seafood and is a recognised and trusted reassurance for consumers across the world. It is Princes’ policy to source MSC wherever possible and the company carries the MSC ‘blue tick’ on a wide range of salmon, mackerel and increasingly on tuna as global fisheries make improvements to the way they fish and manage stocks. Princes also welcomes the recent strengthening of the MSC standard following a consultation on compartmentalised fisheries.
Princes’ two tuna processing sites in Mauritius are also MSC Chain Of Custody certified and both hold SA8000 certification for social accountability.