MSC statement on the death of observer Eritara Aati Kaierua in the Pacific

May 2020

The death of Eritara Aati Kaierua on the Win Far 636 is tragic and shocking. As an at-sea observer, Mr Kaierua had a vital role in ensuring that tuna fished by vessels in the Pacific met the high environmental standards that consumers expect of MSC-certified products.

We are following the police investigation in Tarawa, Kiribati closely, but are aware of the many reports of threats and intimidation facing observers globally. We wholly condemn any violence against or harassment of observers as totally unacceptable. 

Their work helps ensure the protection of our oceans and to preserve fish stocks.  We urge the regional fishery management organisations and national governments to take action to step up their protection of observers.  

As soon as his death was reported, the two companies that hold the MSC Chain of Custody certificates for the Win Far 636, immediately suspended it from the programme. The vessel remains tied up in Kiribati, pending the completion of the police inquiry. 

The MSC’s mission is to end the global crisis in overfishing. This is an enormous and complex challenge, supported by the extraordinary hard work and efforts of many people - including  observers.  They ensure reliable information is collected to make sustainable fisheries management possible even in the most remote parts of the world. 

MSC will be working with others to ensure that observers can continue their important work unimpeded. 

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