When our purse seiner Jai Alai (https://echebastar.com/sobre-nosotros/) leaves port in Seychelles on October 22nd for a 28-day fishing trip in the Indian Ocean, it will have on-board a more equipment that usual. It will carry highly sophisticated fish tags that will be attached by a specialist fishery expert, who will specially embark on the vessel to sample the limited number of silky sharks that are taken as a by-catch in some of the sets of the purse seine targeting skipjack tuna.
There is a twin objective to the work. To provide, firstly, evidence on the mortality rate of silky sharks released from on-board the vessel, and secondly, information on the migratory patterns and behavior of silky shark in the Indian Ocean that may support the identification of potential management measures.
For the former, we will deploy 28 sPAD tags and, for the latter, 6 of the more sophisticated Mini pads.
The project is being managed by AZTI (https://www.azti.es/), the renowned Basque research institute which will collect data for analysis and report with findings, conclusions and recommendations.
The total cost of the project is €120,000. Funding by Echebastar from its own resources has been supplemented by support from the Ocean Stewardship Fund of the MSC (https://www.msc.org/what-we-are-doing/our-collective-impact/ocean-stewardship-fund) and SIOTI (https://seafoodsustainability.org/portfolio/indian-ocean-tropical-tuna/), ISSF and AZTI who have provided additional tags to the project.
Kepa Echevarria commented “When we gained MSC certification for our purse seine skipjack fishery in 2018 we determined to go beyond the requirements of the standard by supporting and promoting better understanding and management of the impact of our fishery on other elements of the ecosystem. The tagging project is an example of our commitment. While our by-catch of silky shark is very small in the context of total fishery related mortality of the species, we recognize that it is a vulnerable species and we must contribute to improved awareness of its nature and characteristics. This study will provide better information on tuna purse seine related mortality and the habitat and migratory patterns of shark that may identify potential management measures should they be needed. I am grateful to the support and advice of MSC, SIOTI, AZTI and ISSF”.
June 8 is World Oceans Day, the United Nations day for celebrating the role of the oceans in our everyday life and inspiring action to protect the ocean and sustainably use marine resources.
This day provides an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably. Future generations will also depend on the ocean for their livelihoods.
As one of the leading companies fishing tuna in the Indian Ocean, Echebastar is fully aware of our obligations and we are dedicated to sustainable fishing. Over the past decade we have been at the vanguard of efforts to strengthen our sustainability and the success we achieved was marked by our fishery gaining certification according to the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) standard. MSC is widely recognised as the most rigorous global standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.
For us, MSC certification is important, but our Strategy and Operational Plan go beyond MSC requirements. Through the Sustainable Indian Ocean Tuna Initiative (SIOTI) (https://fisheryprogress.org/fip-profile/indian-ocean-tuna-purse-seine-sioti) we work closely with other fishing companies and tuna processors to implement initiatives covering a wide range of topics in support of a healthy future for the Indian Ocean tuna fishery, not only for our own benefit but to support the many countries in the region that have a strong dependence on a vigorous ecosystem with well managed fisheries supporting the livelihoods of future generations.
The MSC has recognized our commitment and provides support to us in improving management of dFADs https://www.msc.org/what-we-are-doing/our-collective-impact/ocean-stewardship-fund/impact-projects/sustainability-tuna-FADs
On this special day for Oceans lets all commit to supporting the MSC https://www.msc.org/world-oceans-day.
As you will be aware, businesses throughout the world are going through a great deal of uncertainty and convulsion due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Echebastar is no exception.
In particular, due to international travel restrictions we are unable to rotate our crews following completion of a their sea periods. We are proud to report that our people, the majority of whom have been with us for many years, understand and accept the situation. As a result, our vessels continue fishing the high seas to ensure the continuity of supplies to our valued customers to meet the high global demand for top-quality canned tuna.
We are deeply grateful to our seafarers for their commitment and loyalty to our company.
We have introduced the preventative measures needed to protect them from the virus while they are on-board and we have ensured that they are able to maintain strong virtual contact with their friends and family. When the threat posed by the virus has diminished to the extent that our crews may resume their usual work pattern, those now fishing will be able to enjoy deserved vacations.
During this period, and as ever, we continue fishing in strict compliance with the highest standards of sustainability and respect for the environment. While there will undoubtedly be delays in the various processes at the international, national and company level, we continue to implement our 2020 – 21 work programme to meet the milestones to the conditions to certification.
We will keep you fully informed of our progress.
Echebastar is receiving the first reports after the audit carried out by BV in November, related to MSC Indian Ocean Skipjack certification achieved in November 2018. Everything seems to indicate that, despite having closed some previous conditions and the three recommendations, due to new information on catches in 2018, two new conditions in P1, more specifically 1.2.1 and 1.2.2 will have to be fulfilled in the next years prior to re-certification.
The new scoring (possibly revised from 80 to 60) reflect i) at PI 1.2.1a a lack of responsiveness to implement measures sufficient to restrain catches to levels within the catch limit set for 2018-2020; and ii) at PI 1.2.2c a lack of tools in place to limit catches consistent with catch limits. We hope that with the effort of all the operators of the Indian Ocean the references of the skipjack will arrive soon to the catch limits set for skipjack.
Once the Audit Report is received (soon this month), we will post it in our web site, together with our correspondent Action Plan.
Your comments and support will be appreciated.
Dear Colleagues. I am glad to introduce you the Echebastar First Annual Surveillance Audit working Team:
Ane Iriondo (AZTI)
Marga Andres (AZTI)
Ian Roy Scott (Trident)
Jose Luis Jauregui (Independent Advisor for Echebastar)
We will be pleased to respond all your questions related to the Echebastar MSC certification and the audit process.
Please join us¡¡
On behalf of Echebastar, I want to thank you for your confirmation to participate proactively in our MSC process. For this reason, we are pleased to announce that on our website we have opened a link in which we want to expose our trajectory to the public in general not only in the certification process, but also with the actions that we are carrying out to comply with the objectives regarding the conditions that affect Echebastar and that must be met in the next four years.
All documentation, meetings, projects and studies will be visible at: https://echebastar.com/echebastar-certificada-por-msc/msc-up-to-date/
As a confirmed stakeholder, in addition to making comments online, you will receive an alert notification by email, each time a document is published, modified or updated.
We trust that this tool, based on the transparency that Echebastar intends to give to our MSC project, is of your satisfaction and interest.
Jose Luis Jauregui
Dear Jose Luis
Thank you for sharing your company’s effort to move towards a more sustainable activity. FBOA certainly appreciates the innovation and leadership role that Echebastar has undertaken in rendering its actions more responsible and keeping the process as transparent as possible.
We look forward to your continued efforts and hope by your good leadership, others would follow suit.
We also look forward to future cooperation and collaboration.
Dear Jose Luis,
The Department of the Blue Economy welcomes and supports your initiative.
Office of the Vice President
Dear Mr. Jauregui and the Echebastar team
Please find attached ISSF’s stakeholder comments on the Echebastar´ strategy and Client Action Plan .
Please, contact us should you have any questions.
Juan Pedro Monteagudo
November 15, 2019
Juan Pedro Monteagudo
Dear Mr. Monteagudo,
Thank you for taking the time to review our Strategy. The comments are most welcome. Our responses to each are shown in below pdf link.
As you will be aware, the Strategy and FIP Management Plans are living documents that will be amended as and when we receive new information or our understanding is improved. On that basis, we look forward to continued positive collaboration with ISSF and our other stakeholders.
We will renew contact early in the New Year.
Echebastar MSC Working Team.