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European Tuna Conference tackles prices, IUU, consumer trends

The international tuna industry gathers in Brussels to discuss transparency and accountability in tuna trade and global supply chains.

Senior Reporter Lola Navarro is blogging live from the floor of the European Tuna Conference. Follow along with live updates here:

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Monday, May 6, 3:12 pm CET

Over-priced MSC tuna creates consumer aversion

In the Netherlands, a country where The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) seal is regarded as the most reliable indicator of sustainability, the canned tuna sector has conditioned consumers not to buy MSC tuna, said Henk Brus, CEO of Pacifical. (Read more)

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Monday, May 6, 12.22 pm CET

Seafood top of fraud suspicion list

Seafood was the top reported category on suspicion of fraud during 2018, according to the latest report from the EU Food Fraud Network.

This includes illegal treatment, mislabeling, and other issues, according to DG Sante Deputy Head of Unit Alerts, Traceability and Committees, Eric Marin.

Read more here.

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Monday, May 6, 11.09 am CET

MEP urges EC to punish non-compliant member states

The world is far from managing our resources in a sustainable way, said Linnea Engstrom, Member of the European Parliament.

“I would urge the European Commission and all stakeholders to press hard against member states that do not care: if a vessels continues to fail, their authorization for fishing should be withdrawn, if the member state does not do anything, then the EC must take action," she said.

The EU must lead by example, said Engstrom. Legislation must be about enforcement, governance, and punishment to those who do not abide by sustainability measures.

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Monday, May 6, 9.30 am CET

How much tuna is in the sea?

It’s impossible to know, said Alain Fonteneau, scientist at the Institut de Reserches pour le Developpement.

Even with the most modern techniques and the best scientists, assessing tuna biomass remains extremely difficult.

“Unfortunately, most of today’s estimations remain uncertain and sometimes false. It is impossible to measure, on a scientific basis, the real biomass of tuna stocks,” said Fonteneau.

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Monday, May 6, 9.25 am CET

EC: Harmful subsidies must be eliminated

The international tuna industry gathers today in Brussels to discuss the myriad issues facing the industry. Focusing on accountability and transparency, leaders from around the world from private companies to politicians seek for solutions to improve the complex tuna supply chains.

Canned tuna is the most consumed species in the European Union, and it is a highly internationally traded species, said Joao Aguiar Machado, director general maritime affairs and fisheries, European Commission.

Only 25 percent of tuna consumed in the European Union is caught in EU waters.

According to Machado, the issues that remain are clear: Consumer health and safety and the use of colorants in the supply chain, which not only is illegal, but poses a risk to consumers in the European Union; subsidies conditioning players in different regions; and illegal fishing, which accounts for 15 percent of the world’s fisheries market.

"We remain committed to reaching an agreement in the WTO to ban harmful subsidies, because we want to make sure that everyone plays by the same rule," he said.

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