IbroMar project for sustainable tuna fishing & production in Vietnam

IbroMar is importer of exotic types of seafood and importer of frozen, high value, yellow fin tuna from Vietnam.
IbroMar is a major buyer of long line caught yellow fin tuna in Vietnam. This tuna is caught by relatively small vessels without on board freezing capacity, catching in the territorial waters of Vietnam. About 30% of the landed tuna is of sufficient quality to be sold as fresh and exported by air whereas 70 % is mostly frozen or canned at considerable lower values.
IbroMar has started a 3 year project this year, supported by a 50% grant under the PSOM program by the Dutch government, whereby approximately 2000 fishermen will receive free tools and training, allowing them to increase the percentage of fish, suitable for fresh (and/or raw) consumption as well as fish in a more sustainable way. IbroMar will introduce a new freezing method that allows frozen fish to compete with fresh fish and be consumed as fresh in importing countries. This will result in a smaller ecological foot print of the tuna catching and processing by eliminating air transport and its unwanted effects, eliminating small scale urgent deliveries of fresh tuna and drastically reducing the waste percentage, which can be as high as 30% for air flown fresh tuna.
Part of the increased quality (and with that a lower ecological foot print) can be obtained by introducing the use of circle hooks, as developed by WWF. This should result in reducing unwanted by catch, fresher tuna and larger sizes (reducing waste).
Under the training program, in partnership with WWF, a first batch of circle hooks will be made available for free, and subsequent supplies will be sold at cost price. Fishermen will be trained in the use of circle hooks using data of pilot ships where consultants will be deployed to train the crew and collect comparative data for catch with various types of hooks. The program aims to create a ‘critical mass’ of users of circle hooks, creating a basis for growth.
Part of the project will be a pre-assessment of the tuna fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council, with intention to come to full assessment and ultimately MSC certification. The partners will invite other parties, including governmental institution to take part in the follow on assessment and certification.
IbroMar intends to facilitate this program by paying for the MSC pre-assessment, training, consultants and materials used, as well as an observer program by WWF starting in july 2008 and subsequent training of fishermen to contribute to the sustainability of tuna catch and processing in Vietnam.
The partners intend to initiate a communication program towards the international tuna trade and consumers in importing countries during the project.
Rotterdam, 14th February 2008
M. Brugman
IbroMar B.V.