Tuna giant to unveil new stock-saving ways at key forum


The company’s heads, from right to left are Adolfo Valsecchi, group director Tony Lazazzara , Italy-based head of Mareblu Giovanni Valsecchi and IOT’s geral manager Joram Madnack

Scientists will unveil progress made on how to allow non-targeted species and juvenile tuna to escape, with target to cut the already sustainable by-catch level by half, chief executive Adolfo Valsecchi told Nation yesterday.

Speaking at the Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) factory, Mr Valsecchi said the scientists will present the results of a three-year long search for initiative ways that will allow endangered species, premature tuna and other species to escape before nets are closed, leading to healthier stocks and cutting threat to non-targeted types of fish.

France-based MWBrands sells tuna mainly in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, Ireland, and the Netherlands. It jointly owns IOT with government and processes 70,000 tonnes of tuna annually, down from its pre-piracy attack days’ 90,000 tonnes. Its main brands are John West, Petit Navire and Mareblu.

“We have processing plants all over the world which cannot process anything else so we are more interested in preserving tuna stocks than anybody and we do not want to catch young ones or species like sharks which maintain the food chain balance,” said Mr Valsecchi.

“We are a responsible company and that is why we are hosting this conference at which we expect 100 delegates.”

He said all major global conservation bodies have been invited to the Ephelia resort forum where they will present their findings.

He said they are working with a number of stakeholders and qualified scientists which have shown that in the Indian Ocean, approximately 4% of all fish caught by purse seiners are “unwanted” by-catch and not 10% as previously thought.

“Already the 4% figure shows tuna fishing in the Indian Ocean is sustainable but we want to cut the by-catch level to 2%,” he said.

MWBrands is reiterating the need of factual data to support concerns and achievements.
Independent observers on board purse seiners or alternative systems such as video recording equipment should be the drivers for obtaining the objective data.