Launch of First Ever Dual Certified Fair Trade and MSC Seafood Product
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2017
Male | Zürich | Oakland. Horizon Fisheries, Blueyou Trading and Fair Trade USA have partnered to launch the first ever seafood product, canned skipjack tuna, that carries both the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Fair Trade Certified™ labels. Fishing communities from four islands in the Maldives, which have caught skipjack tuna using traditional pole & line gear for centuries, are now receiving this unique recognition for being both sustainably managed and socially equitable. The fishery, which includes a fleet of 25 family-owned vessels that are based in the Laam Atoll in the Southern part of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, has been MSC certified since 2012, indicating it meets the organization’s rigorous standards for environmental sustainability.
“We are proud to be the first MSC certified fishery to now also carry Fair Trade Certified™ label, which reflects our company’s policy and long-standing commitment towards a socially responsible and fair partnership with fishermen, island communities and our factory workers in the Maldives,” says Adnan Ali, Managing Director of Horizon Fisheries in the Maldives, the local project partner and exclusive manufacturer of the Fair Trade tuna.
International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) is pleased to see one of its founding members involved in this project “Through the certification, Horizon Fisheries is further demonstrating its commitment to the fishing communities they work with and providing consumers with the opportunity to buy tuna that meets the highest environmental and social standards on the market,” states Alice Miller of IPNLF.
The Fair Trade project was developed in joint partnership with Blueyou Trading, a global trading and service company for sustainable seafood solutions. For every Fair Trade Certified canned tuna product sold, a 3 percent premium goes directly back to the fishermen for investment in important community projects, like education, improved access to drinking water, and healthcare. The fishing community was also required to meet a set of rigorous social and environmental standards to earn the certification.
“Our objective with Fair Trade has been to recognize the unique dedication of Horizon Fisheries to work with traditional coastal tuna fisheries and partner with local communities for value chain improvement. The fishermen are landing their catch right at the factory’s jetty where tuna is being processed into cans – this is as direct and transparent a tuna supply chain can get,” says René Benguerel, Managing Director of Blueyou Trading.
The tuna is processed by the company’s 845 permanent and temporary workers and exported to markets in Europe and North America. Through a Fair Trade workers fund - funded by Blueyou Trading - all factory workers at Horizon Fisheries benefit from this project in addition to the local fishing communities. “Fair Trade should not stop at a manufacturers’ door. We believe that all local actors of our supply chain should benefit from the program,” explains Benguerel. “Social responsibility and adequate participation of local stakeholders in global value chains should become a key topic of the sustainable seafood movement in the future.”
For Fair Trade USA, the non-profit organization that launched the first Fair Trade CertifiedTM seafood two years ago, the achievement is another milestone in the program’s short history. “We’re thrilled to celebrate the world’s first fishery to obtain dual certifications from both MSC and Fair Trade USA. Our partners on the ground, as well as the fishermen themselves, worked incredibly hard to meet Fair Trade’s requirements, and we’re excited to see that hard work come to fruition,” says Ashley Apel, Seafood Program Senior Manager at Fair Trade USA.
Certified products will first be launched in Germany and Switzerland by the German company Followfood under its brand followfish in early 2017. “We have a longstanding partnership with Blueyou and Horizon Fisheries and we are extremely happy to offer the first Fair Trade and MSC certified seafood product to our clients. Our company has always been pioneering market trends and we believe that Fair Trade should be the future benchmark for all seafood products harvested by small-scale producers and communities worldwide,” states Jürg Knoll, Managing Director and Founding Partner of Followfood.
The dual certified products can be expected in the US in time, as more fishers become involved and volumes continue to grow. Blueyou and Horizon have secured an agreement with Rema Foods, the leading importer of private label canned tuna in the US. “Rema Foods is looking forward to offering our customers this groundbreaking product in the US. It’s imperative that we all do our part to protect our seafood resources and the fishermen that bring us this wonderful resource,” says Rema Foods CEO, Robert Feuerstein.