Sustainable Fishing

Ensuring the sustainability of their activities is a daily objective of all Eurothon members. To achieve this objective, efforts are focused on two key topics:

  • Constantly improving the sustainability of our fishing techniques
  • Investing in the working conditions of our staff

Our fishing techniques

It would be unrealistic to claim that the impact of fishing, along with any other human activity, on the environment can be ignored. All Eurothon members invest substantial time and effort to ensure that everything from the material used, the boat shape, the engine technology, the fuel tanks or the navigation support technology, contribute to increasing the efficiency of their boats and minimizes their environmental impact. All Eurothon tropical tuna fleet members have registered their vessels in the respective registers of the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and in the ISSF proactive vessels registry. All European fleets abide by EU, RFMOs and third-country rules and adhere to the ISSF conservation measures. The latter is a comprehensive set of voluntary measures cover supply chain transparency, data of catches and crew training on best fishing practices.

Nowadays, a typical European purse seiner vessel is 50 m to 100 m long. A substantial part of a vessel’s capacity is dedicated to living facilities and fish storage. Storage facilities are particularly large due to the fact that European fleets immediately freeze their catch on board before bringing it to the nearest port.

Eurothon vessels are called purse seiners in reference to the fishing technique used: seine fishing. Tuna are fished with a net that is deployed vertically in the water around a “school” of tropical tuna. Tuna purse seining is an established fishing technique. It was developed in the late 1950’s and is one of the most selective fishing gears in the world.

Irrespective of the type of boat or technique used, the European Tuna industry objective is to guarantee selectivity and to minimize its environmental impact. Crews of Eurothon members fish for so called free schools, and by using natural logs and Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs).

FADs are floating objects which attract tropical tuna. Scientists are still carrying out research to understand why FADs do attract tuna but using floating objects to attract fish is a very old technique. otc viagra- generic cialis for sale- buy cialis- where to buy viagra-

FADs used by European fleet are equipped with satellite links and can be localized at all times. In addition, they are equipped with depth sounders enabling the vessel to distinguish between the species present under a FAD as well as the number of fish present. This enables us to fish with a low carbon footprint, greatly limiting the quantity of fuel used as the vessel can make a good assessment before deploying its fishing gear.

FADs have been accused of negatively affecting sharks and turtles. This is a concern we have taken very seriously and new FAD designs are currently being implemented by the European tuna fleet to minimize their impact on those unwanted species. These new FADs are called non entangling FADs in reference to the fact that they are not made up of a net that risks trapping unwanted or vulnerable species found in the vicinity of tropical tuna. To know more about non entangling FADs, please read this ISSF guidebook.

The European fleet strives to minimize the catch of species it does not want to land. European fleets constantly train their crew members as they are confronted with these challenges on a daily basis. An overview of the training programme Eurothon members crews follow can be accessed here. Several of our members are currently testing nets equipped with escape panels, which include a large hole in the net that can be opened or closed to release a shark for example. Sharks do swim with tuna and can, on some occasions accidentally be caught in fishing nets. Eurothon members have trained all their crew members in shark and turtle release procedures to make sure that when a shark or a turtle, which, in spite of all precautions taken, ends up in a net, it is immediately released alive back into the ocean. These release procedures require extreme care to provide the necessary safety to the crew and their ship. To learn more about sharks and tuna fisheries, visit the ISSF web pages “Focus on Sharks”.