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Albacore and yellowfin are the first MSC certified sustainable tuna species in Atlantic Canada

New tuna species and gears added as part of the successful re-certification of Atlantic Canada longline and harpoon swordfish.


The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announced today that as part of a second successful re-certification, the North West Atlantic Canada harpoon, and North West Atlantic Canada longline swordfish (Xiphias gladius) fisheries have combined and expanded their scope to include two new species, Atlantic yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) and North Atlantic albacore (Thunnus alalunga). The new, unified certificate called the North West Atlantic Swordfish and Tuna fishery, streamlines the certification process for all three species. This is the first MSC certified yellowfin tuna fishery in Canada.  


Also new to the fishery is the certification of three additional, more selective gear types: rod and reel, buoy gear and troll. Rod and reel and buoy gear are MSC certified for swordfish, albacore and yellowfin while troll is only certified for the two tuna species.  


The new gears mark a further evolution in fishing practices and are part of ongoing efforts to reduce bycatch, increase efficiency, and further align the fishery with market demands for increased sustainable practices.  


Troy Atkinson, President of the Nova Scotia Swordfishermen's Association said: “The addition of albacore and yellowfin to our MSC certificate was the logical next step as swordfish fleets have been working to increase their efficiency and diversify by shifting to target tunas at select times of the year. We are also proud of the significant reductions in bycatch made possible by the new gear types, and optimistic about their cost saving potential as they require less bait and smaller, more fuel-efficient vessels. We hope these factors will all contribute to expanding the market for our fishery.” 


Represented by the Nova Scotia Swordfishermen’s Association (NSSA) and the Swordfish Harpoon Quota Society (SHQS), the fishery operates within the Atlantic Canadian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the international waters of the ICCAT Northern Swordfish Boundary Area. Annually, the MSC certified fishery is expected to land approximately 1,400 metric tonnes of swordfish, 40 metric tons of albacore tuna and 110 metric tons of yellowfin tuna. 


Kurtis Hayne, Program Director for the MSC said: “We congratulate the swordfish fleets for their successful re-certification which marks an impressive 10 years in the MSC program. The diversification towards new species and more selective gear types is just one more example of how MSC certified fisheries work to continuously invest in sustainability.” He continued: “The addition of yellowfin and albacore is a first for MSC certified tuna in Atlantic Canada and one we anticipate could appeal to consumers interested in more artisanal, sustainable tuna options.”

Learn More About the MSC

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international nonprofit on a mission to end overfishing and ensure seafood is fished sustainably. When you choose seafood products with the MSC blue fish label, you're helping us protect food security, preserve livelihoods, and support healthy oceans, lakes, and rivers.

Learn More About the MSC