The Cantabrian sea inshore fleet, an example of sustainability

The albacore tuna fishery that includes the Bermeo, Lekeitio and Ondarroa fleets, which use trolling and rod fishing gears, likewise the other northwestern Cantabrian fleets, all grouped in Opegui, Opescaya, Opacan and the Asturian Fishermen´s Guild Federation (167 boats in total), renewed at the end of last year its MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) sustainability certification. The parties responsible for the blue label who undertook the reassessment of this eco-label defined it as “a worldwide example of good international management”.

Since obtaining the first certification five years ago, the fishery has addressed the five improvement conditions imposed; namely: ‘stock’ situation, the development of some well defined rules for catch control, likewise impact and information on endangered, threatened and protected species, among other issues. The new assessment has confirmed the certification is based on best practices level indicators. MSC stated it is “truly an unprecedented success for a tuna fishery”.

They also highlighted that this fishery “has been a pioneer and is a worldwide example for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) regarding the development of well defined rules for catch control which serve for the scientific management of the ‘stocks’”.
Aurelio Bilbao Barandica, director of Opescaya (Organización de Productores de Pesca de Bajura de Bizkaia/Organization of Inshore Fishing Producers from Vizcaya), valued this recognition as “good news for the fishermen who fish albacore tuna. Society as a whole is becoming increasingly aware regarding the consumption of fish species with sustainability certification and it is habit we encourage whenever buying fish”.