Princes Group reduces Indian Ocean yellowfin sourcing to support long term sustainability – Princes Group UK

15/10/2020

New announcement will see company make total sourcing reduction of 50% on 2017 levels – 25% above the scientific guidance

International food and drink group Princes is continuing to take action
to protect tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean by announcing that it intends to
reduce its yellowfin sourcing by 50% – over 16,000 tonnes – between 2017 and
2022.

The stock has been overfished since 2015 and requires urgent action to
reverse this trend. Princes has been working to develop alternative sources of
Yellowfin since 2017 and has already achieved a 40% reduction meaning that
Princes usage of Indian Ocean yellowfin currently accounts for less than 5% of
the total IO catch. (2)

Princes says it hopes the voluntary cut to 50% by 2022 will make clear
to the IOTC, its member states, fisheries and vessels, that action and
leadership is required in order to protect the long term sustainability of
Indian Ocean tuna and the associated industry in the region.

Neil Bohannon, Group Director for Fish at Princes, said: “We have
supported repeated calls for reductions in yellowfin catch in line with the
scientific advice.  In recognition of the situation we face, Princes
decided to take action to reduce our use of Indian Ocean yellowfin.  Our
action alone however will not be enough, the IOTC needs to take action to with
all gear types and fleets to reduce catches by 25% from 2017 levels”.

“It is clear we need a credible recovery plan to be agreed by all
parties, delivering stock rebuilding within two generations. With our voluntary
reduction of Indian Ocean yellowfin in excess of the scientific advice, we are
demonstrating our commitment in supporting this recovery”.

“Princes has two manufacturing sites in Mauritius with some 4,000
colleagues and many more jobs in the region are reliant on us. Sustaining the
seafood economy is reliant on long term sustainable tuna and the IOTC needs to
show leadership and take firm action. We are committed to playing our part.”

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“Our commitment to our Mauritian operations mean we have a strong vested
interest in the future sustainability of Indian Ocean tuna. We respect
decisions that other stakeholders may make on sourcing from the region but hope
all stakeholders will continue to embrace the principles of partnership,
collaboration and advocacy that are common in addressing the many
sustainability or human rights challenges that exist in global food supply
chains, of which Indian Ocean tuna is no exception. We look forward to
continuing to work with the entire industry to drive change.”

Marcel Kroese, WWF Global Tuna Leader said: “WWF believes that the tuna
market plays an important role and welcomes the action Princes is taking to
reduce its use of Indian Ocean yellowfin. The species is in a critical state
and a plan to rebuild a healthy stock is urgently needed. The Indian Ocean Tuna
Commission meeting in November is an important opportunity for member states to
come together to act to save the yellowfin tuna stock from collapsing.”

Executive Director of the Global Tuna Alliance Dr Tom Pickerell said: “This is a
very important announcement by Princes. Action is urgently needed on overfished
yellowfin stocks, and it is great to see an individual company making such
significant strides. What is crucial now is that the IOTC supports these
efforts with a formalised and scientifically sound rebuilding plan – this is
what the Global Tuna Alliance has been asking of all IOTC delegates. If
properly managed there will be enough tuna for everyone – it’s not rocket
science; a 25% cut in catches now will rebuild the stock”.

Many fleets that operate in the Indian Ocean have increased their
catches since 2017, or are not subject to reduction measures. The 25% reduction
proposed within the Global Tuna Alliance’s recent report mirrors the
recommendation from the IOTC’s own scientific committee and would see yellowfin
stock levels rebuild in two generations. (1)

Princes has previously stated it is committed to only processing
responsibly sourced tuna. Princes defines responsibly sourced as fisheries that
are either already certified according to the standards of the Marine
Stewardship Council (MSC), or are involved in a time-bound Fishery Improvement
Project (FIP) that is working towards achieving standards required for MSC
certification. Fully traceable pole and line fisheries and catches made that
are Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) free are also included.

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Bohannon added: “We fully understand the responsibility we have to
ensure that this vital natural resource is sourced responsibly. As one of the
UK’s biggest importers of tuna, the responsible sourcing of tuna stocks and our
role in driving meaningful sustainable change is of crucial importance to our
current and future business.

Princes was also a founding partner of the International Seafood
Sustainability Foundation in 2009, and plays an active leadership role in
challenging and promoting the organisation’s work and standards towards the
long-term conservation and sustainable use of global tuna stocks, reducing
bycatch and promoting tuna ecosystem health.

Princes’ two tuna processing sites in Mauritius are
MSC Chain Of Custody certified and both hold SA8000 certification for social
accountability.

Ends

  1. IOTC’s Scientific Committee
    recommended 20% reduction based on 2014 levels in 2015 – GTA report recommends
    25% based on 2017 levels in light of the increase in catch since 2014.
  2. Princes Yellowfin data 2017 –
    projected 2022

Notes to Editors – About
Princes

With
a global supply network and a portfolio of branded and customer own brand
products, Princes is one of the UK’s largest food and drink groups.

The
company specialises in manufacturing and sourcing quality products and, as a
leading international grocery supplier, millions of consumers across Europe buy
its brands and products every day.

Princes
head office is based in the UK (Liverpool) and the company also has a presence
across continental Europe, which is managed from an office in The Netherlands.
There are also dedicated sales and marketing offices in Poland and France, tuna
processing facilities in Mauritius, tomato processing in Italy and edible oils
production in Poland.


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