5 Jan 2017

Tuna "wild catch" tonnage to double in 2017 - PNA

5:39 pm on 5 January 2017

The amount for "free school" tuna is expected to double in 2017 according to the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA).

Fishing vessels, both modern and traditional, in the Madang lagoon, Papua New Guinea; site of the planned Pacific Marine Industrial Zone.

Fishing vessels, both modern and traditional, in the Madang lagoon, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Purse seiners favour tuna fishing around Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) which are man-made fixed or floating platforms that exploit the tendency of fish on the open ocean to gather under floating objects.

But the PNA, which controls the world's largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery, is promoting the practice of "free school" caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna which does not involve FADs.

The practice is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and is touted as more sustainable than fishing around FADs as it limits the amount of by-catch which can include, sharks, dolphins turtles, rays and other species of tuna such as juvenile Bigeye Tuna.

Growing global market demand for MSC-certified tuna and fishing industry interest is responsible for the projected doubling of "free school" tonnage said the PNA's chief executive Ludwig Kumoru.

PNA CEO Ludwig Kumoru

PNA CEO Ludwig Kumoru Photo: PNA facebook

He said tuna fishing fleets complying with MSC requirements delivered over 55,000 metric tons of sustainably caught free school tuna to the market.

Mr Kumoru said he expects the volume to double to about 100,000 metric tons in 2017 based on existing orders.

He said this benefits everyone including the fisheries industry, retailers, and PNA members because catching tuna without using FADs means tuna are being fished sustainably.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs