Chinese-Owned Fishery Achieves First MSC Certification For Bigeye Tuna

By Dayeeta Das
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Chinese-Owned Fishery Achieves First MSC Certification For Bigeye Tuna

A Chinese-owned longline yellowfin and bigeye tuna fishery in the Federated States of Micronesia has achieved an MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification for its bigeye tuna catch.

This is the first time that bigeye has been certified to the MSC’s globally recognised standard for sustainable fishing.

In October of 2018, the fishery, owned by three Chinese fishing companies – Liancheng Overseas Fishery (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd (SZLC), China Southern Fishery Shenzhen Co. Ltd (CSFC) and Liancheng Overseas Fishery (FSM) Co. Ltd (FZLC) – acquired MSC certification for yellowfin tuna.

Following an independent assessment by the conformity assessment body, Control Union, bigeye tuna will now be added to the list of certified species caught by the fishery.

Sustainable Fishing

The latest stock assessment for bigeye in the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) shows that stocks are healthy and being fished at a sustainable rate.


In order to ensure that the fishery can respond to any changes in the health of the bigeye stock, certification is conditional upon the adoption of harvest strategies by 2021.

It includes incorporation of harvest control rules by all member states of the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

Bill Holden, senior fisheries outreach manager for the MSC in Oceania and South-East Asia, said, "We congratulate Liancheng and their partners for becoming the first fishery to be eligible to sell MSC-certified bigeye tuna. They are demonstrating true leadership in sustainable fishing.

"To maintain their certification, Liancheng will need to work with other fishing organisations and the WCPFC to agree to important management measures to safeguard bigeye tuna stocks. As a result, this certification could influence the sustainability of bigeye fishing across the entire WCPO," added Holden.


'A Distinct Honour'

Sam Chou, president of Liancheng Overseas Fishery (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd, the parent company of the three fleets certified, said, "We are extremely proud to have the first bigeye tuna fishery to be certified to the MSC standard. It is a distinct honour.

"Liancheng is the largest Chinese fleet to achieve MSC certification. We are dedicated to achieving certification for all our fisheries," added Chou.

Liancheng is also responsible for the Cook Islands South Pacific albacore and yellowfin longline fishery that achieved MSC certification in 2015.

Its yellowfin and bigeye tuna fisheries in the Republic of the Marshall Islands are also undergoing MSC assessment, with a conclusion expected by the end of 2019.


Joe Murphy, senior vice-president of marketing for Liancheng, said, "Our customers and consumers recognise the value of MSC certification, and our ability to provide fish for sale with the blue MSC label.

"We hope to market MSC-certified bigeye catch in China, Japan, Asia, the United States and Europe," added Murphy.

Consumers can trust seafood with the MSC label. Fishers who supply MSC-labelled seafood care about the oceans and go the extra mile to ensure that the environment is protected.

Independent auditors also check to ensure that MSC-certified seafood is traceable back to its source.

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