TAIWAN: Between Tuna fish sustainable implementation and Tilapia responsible sourcing verification
Back in March 2012, it was my first time visiting Taiwan, I was on duty to visit the Port of Kaohsiung, located in southern-western Taiwan to stay for a week in the headquarters of FCF which is one of the three biggest Tuna fish companies in the world. I was on behalf of the PNA, as PNA MSC coordinator to train the FCF fishing company managers and officers about the PNA MSC Traceability and Chain of Custody protocol. This training and workshop was part of the implementation program with fishing companies, observer program and national fishing authorities of the PNA countries, in order to increase the level of compliance of tuna purse seiner to follow the PNA MSC protocol, Observer program to control on board the MSC eligible tuna and National Fishing Authorities for enforcement and VMS control of the participant fishing companies purse seiners within the PNA.
FCF joined in 2012 the PNA Marine Stewardship Council initiative for fishing in a sustainable manner, but recently in January 2018, FCF Fishery Company (FCF) and the Western Pacific Sustainable Tuna Alliance announced that the Western and Central Pacific Skipjack and Yellow Fin Free School Purse Seine Fishery was granted Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Standard for Sustainable Fishing certification. The certification decision was determined by a third-party certifier, SCS Global.
More than an experience in my career; to be part of the MSC implementation, training and verification process has been a learning experience of evolving responsible fishery management and the positive impact of the Monitoring and Controls on-board and in the Tuna supply chain.
After almost 6 years, I went back to Taiwan; this time to assess a Tilapia farm located nearby Taipei the Taiwanese Capital.
The NYAA representative Franck Chen and the Certification Body Auditor’s team received me, it was an experience to take the bullet train and then by car reach a University and research center for Aquaculture. The trip would take a bit more than 3 days visiting several small Tilapia farmers in a countryside region in the South of Taipei.
Nan Ying Aquaculture Association (NYAA) is a non-profit organization. The operational objectives of NYAA are as fellow: to assist fishermen and aquaculture management and technological exchanges, enhance the quality of the fishermen, and to promote sustainable aquaculture industrial development. ASC Counseling Association Management Center mainly as fishermen, responsible for communication and coordination, to assist farm management supervision, education and training, provided the external environment, water quality, product monitoring, and traceability.
During the field trip, it was a pleasure to have an informal talk with the representative, farmers, and workers and hear from them the benefits that they have obtained in the association. The harvest process was observed in several farms that was done early morning mainly for quality, sensorial and freshness issues.
Why choosing Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)
ASC certification focuses on balancing aquaculture industry, environmental conservation, resource use and social responsibility, and complies with the trend of the world’s demand for seafood.
The benefits of NYAA
a. Small farmers can participate and meet ASC standards
Taiwan’s aquaculture industry is mostly fishermen individual operations, only a small part of the company’s operations. Small farmers can under community associations, e.g. NYAA, through counseling, to comply with ASC standards, and the establishment of aquaculture products and a responsible attitude to the environment and ecology, and caring for land resources from local small farmers, can be said to David and Goliath Grace.
b. Fish survival rate increase
Selection of non-GM unisexual fish, excellent selection of qualified sources to provide a clear feed suppliers, to take low-density stocking strategy and timing quantitative reduction of residual material feeding water to avoid contamination, use of probiotics when necessary to improve water quality and regularly for water testing, implementation of fish health plan, therefore fish survival rates have significantly improved.
c. Environment and ecological protection
ASC standards motivate us to implement the importance of internal and external environment, farms, such as farms surrounding environment, regular maintenance and establishment of good quality and health management system; good internal environmental management can reduce the negative impact on the outside environment, and protect the local ecology and biodiversity, establish new green farming opportunities.
d. Comply with social responsibility
Promote aquaculture industry attention rights, labor health, and safety issues, in line with labor-related regulatory requirements; while more proactive to establish a good interactive relationship with the surrounding communities and relevant organizations.
e. Increase revenue
Processing plants will actively sign cooperation contract with ASC certified farms so that farmers can feel at ease with the steady increase in production, the average price is relatively high, so the farmers can increase revenue and market segmentation to achieve differentiation.
NYAA sees that the ASC certification has mainly enhanced the good image of environmental protection, has been highly recognized in the international market, and help open up export markets, while farmers can drive toward the production of more secure and protect the aquatic environment, in order to promote the aquaculture industry sustainable development.