THE COMPANY behind the Nambawan Seafoods Tuna processing plant will work to provide sustainably fished tuna to its customers after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the parties of the Nauru agreement (PNA).

Fong Chun Formosa Fishery Company (FCF) announced that Nambawan and its associated fleet had signed the deal with Pacifical, the global marketing arm of the PNA countries, which includes Papua New Guinea.

Under the agreement, which has been several years in the making, FCF will work with the PNA and Pacifical on criteria for certification and ensuring traceability and reporting from fish harvested to transportation, and processing into its semi-finished and finished products.

The company had committed to maintaining the highest Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability standards while trading tuna harvested from PNA waters, FCF chief executive WH Lee said.

“With this MOU, along with other committed vessels in our supply chain platform, FCF will be the largest solution provider of PNAO/MSC tuna from ‘Ocean to Table,’” he said.

Currently, more than 60 FCF-associated fishing vessels are poised for MSC certification.

Over time, this could make way for more than 200,000 metric tonnes of tuna, effectively meeting the needs of the consumer market for future generations.

The agreement helps effectively market the group’s MSC-certified tuna while promoting the long term sustainability of the PNA region, FCF said in an announcement.

FCF, alongside Trans Pacific Journey Fishing Corporation and TSP Marine Industries of the Philippines, founded Nambawan in 2011.

The Nambawan plant, which is slated to begin operations in September 2015, has the production capacity of up to 200 metric tonnes of tuna per day, and has an exclusive agreement with FCF to the global market.

PNA Fisheries commercial manager Maurice Brownjohn said that combining the fleet’s MSC certification under the PNG program set it up for success.

“This is truly a significant partnership in the spirit of regional development as envisioned by the Ministers of Pacific Island Nations,” he said.

In an announcement, Pacifical said the MOU highlighted the importance of implementing sustainable fishing practices to conserve tuna stocks, avoid harming other marine species and protect the overall ocean ecosystem.

“We are thrilled to count with FCF as a key commercial and strategic partner on PNA MSC certified tuna and continue to strongly encourage other industry stakeholders to also join us on this sustainable mission,” the company said.

“Together we hold an enormous responsibility; to preserve our tuna stocks for generations to come.”

The FCF vessels are also registered with International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) Proactive Vessels Registry, which provides validation that tuna purchased by its members are meeting the ISSF sustainable standard.

The news followed revelations that US-based tuna vessel management company South Pacific Tuna Corporation had signed a similar memorandum of understanding with PNA.

“This MOU makes us the first among the U.S. Distant Water Tuna Fleet to make a public commitment to sustainable fishing practices as certified by the Marine Stewardship Council—including effective management and minimal environmental impact,” South Pacific Tuna Corporation executive director J. Douglas Hines said.

The eight other PNA countries are the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Together, they control the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery, supplying 50 per cent of the world’s skipjack tuna.