Tuna giant Tri Marine International announced the Solomon Islands yellowfin and skipjack fishery has been certified by Fair Trade USA.
National Fisheries Developments (NFD), a Tri Marine affiliate operating in the fishery, is now authorized to carry the Fair Trade logo on the tuna catch from their five medium-scale purse seiners and four pole and line vessels, the company said.
Tri Marine anticipates customers of its US sales arm, The Tuna Store, will now want to see Fair Trade-certified tuna on retail shelves, it said. The company's cannery, SolTuna, is included in the Fair Trade certification. Both NFD and SolTuna are already Marine Stewardship Council-certified, the company said.
“Fair Trade has helped our fishermen be better organized, ensured crew and stevedore safety and improved overall community well-being," said Cynthia Wickham, NFD pole and line fleet manager, in a statement.
“We have been promoting responsible labor practices in our global tuna supply chains for years, including the application of World Bank/International Finance Corporation performance standards, and now Fair Trade standards in the Solomon Islands,” said Matt Owens, director of sustainability at Tri Marine, in a statement. “Fishermen and fish processors are the backbone of our business and the economic drivers in their communities. Fair Trade certification provides an additional layer of worker benefits.”
The company has also created an industry association to make sure the value of the Fair Trade catch benefits the local communities.
“Tri Marine and NFD’s commitment to Fair Trade is a powerful example of responsible practices in the fishing industry,” said Julie Kuchepatov, seafood program director at Fair Trade USA. “We are proud to share the common goal of empowering Fair Trade fishermen and look forward to seeing more Fair Trade seafood available to consumers.”
NFD and SolTuna employ about 2,400 Solomon Islanders, making them the largest private sector employer in the country. Tuna resources in the region are managed by the Solomon Islands' government, the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.