John West Australia said its canned tuna is now certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a move hailed as a “mighty step forward” for sustainable fishing.
The MSC is an international not-for-profit organisation which runs a certification and ecolabeling program for wild-capture fisheries, with the aim of safeguarding seafood supplies for future generations.
The MSC ecolabel denotes that a rigorous process has been passed, involving an independent third party audit against an international standard.
John West said that it had been working with the MSC and WWF Australia to find a way to overhaul John West's supply standards in Australia. Some 95% opf the tuna John West sells will be MSC certified.
John West executive director - commercial, Graham Dugdale, said that in 2012 the company pledged that by the end of 2015, it would only source purse seine caught skipjack tuna (pictured) caught using independently verified methods free from the use of FAD - fish aggregation devices.
“After three years of extensive research, close collaboration with MSC and WWF, I am proud to announce that this target has been met and exceeded,” said Dugdale. “Not only are we sourcing FAD free but we have made sure it is MSC certified sustainable and completely traceable from ocean to can.”
WWF Australia said the move represented a massive increase in the availability of MSC ecolabel products on supermarket shelves across the country. It said that as John West Australia accounted for more than 43% of the supply of canned tuna in Australia, mostly from the west central Pacific ocean, fish stocks in those areas were more likely to last for future generations, and incidental capture of other species such as sharks, turtles and dolphins would be significantly reduced. WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said that sustainability in Australia had taken “a mighty step forward” because of the initiative.
“Our oceans are in crisis due to a history of mismanagement by humanity,” he said. “As a result of a collaborative effort by WWF, MSC and John West, Australians will now see over 100 million cans of clearly labelled MSC certified sustainably sourced tuna in supermarkets.
He added: “MSC is the world's most credible sustainability standard for wild caught fish, a process which requires independent third party auditors to evaluate a fishery's performance against the most robust sustainability standards available globally,” O’Gorman said.