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Friend of the Sea Certifies IUU-Caught Tuna?

by Campaign for Eco-Safe Tuna
February 9, 2015

Friend of the Sea Certifies IUU-Caught Tuna?

If you were ever looking for evidence that Friend of the Sea is no friend of our seas, check out their latest certification: Taiwan-based F.C.F. Fishery.

F.C.F. Fishery is one of several companies that were fined as a supplier of illegal, unregulated and unreported caught tuna (we reported on this in a blog post in May).  F.C.F. Fishery is also one of the founding stakeholders in the South Pacific Tuna Corporation, which was fined by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after several of their vessels were caught setting nets around marine mammals in violation of international marine protections.

The violations for which the South Pacific Tuna Corporation was fined were not the work of one rogue captain either. Five vessels were added to the Greenpeace International Blacklist.

Friend of the Sea’s certification of F.C.F. Fishery is a clear demonstration of their blatant disregard for marine protections and eco-safe fishing best practices. In fact, the certification of F.C.F. Fishery makes it clear that Friend of the Sea will follow in its affiliate’s, Earth Island Institute, footsteps and continue to protect and defend companies willing to buy a “certification,” with no regard for the environmental impact of these companies’ fishing operations.

Friend of the Sea is also blatantly disregarding a key tenet of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries (see on page 37). Specifically, the FAO requires the accreditation by independent certifying bodies “declaring that specified requirements pertaining to a product, person, process or management system have been met.” This is commonly referred to as “third-party certification” and is intended to ensure that there is no improper link between the standard holder and the certification body. Friend of the Sea blatantly sidesteps this requirement and signs their own certificates attesting that fisheries are in compliance with their “criteria for sustainable fisheries.” This second-party certification, where “an association to which the individual or organization belongs provides the certification,” completely discredits any labels issued by Friend of the Sea. To view a copy of a Friend of the Sea certificate signed by their Chief Executive Director, please click here.

Given F.C.F. Fishery's previous connections to IUU-fishing, we must ask, why is Friend of the Sea certifying IUU-caught tuna?

Friend of the Sea’s complete lack of transparency undercuts the credibility of their so-called “eco-label.” And this most recent certification is a clear indication that their label is not to be trusted. Friend of the Sea is clearly taking after Earth Island Institute by making consumer deception a regular part of their modus operandi. Instead of protecting our oceans, Friend of the Sea has made the choice to protect their lucrative and false labeling machinations.

To view (and download) another copy of a Friend of the Sea certificate signed by their Chief Executive, please click on the image at the top left corner.