Working to Improve Fisherfolk Lives

WWF-Philippines and Century Tuna team up for sustainable handline fishing 

Tuna are some of the most powerful and majestic fish in the sea. While most fish have white flesh, tuna tissue hosts loads of myoglobin, which efficiently oxygenates their systems to give tuna meat a distinctive red hue and mouth-watering texture.

Tuna are among the world’s most important marine commodities, feeding billions of people globally while providing affordable protein for millions of Filipinos. 

The Philippines is currently one of the world’s top tuna producers, with handline fishing considered as a traditional and environmentally-sound method of catching large tuna species such as Yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and Big-eye (Thunnus obesus) Tuna through the use of a single hook. 

Through the support of Century Tuna, sustainable seafood advocate World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) is promoting an artisanal handline tuna fishery in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. This initiative aims to improve local fisheries management while ensuring the sustainability of the area’s small-scale handline industry. 

Collaborating with the municipal government of Pasuquin, the province of Ilocos Norte, local fishing groups plus the private sector, the program shall initially focus on supporting around 300 fisher families utilizing 200 small bancas for tuna handline fishing. 

The program aims to enhance the Ilocos region’s handline tuna fisheries through improved management while increasing fisherfolk incomes for the next three years. These objectives can be achieved through the adoption of a traceability system, improving local fisheries governance plus meat handling practices, maximizing economic benefits by bridging fishers with preferential local and foreign markets and establishing external support sources. 

“We all know that the sustainability of fisheries, particularly of tuna, is important to the Philippine fishing sector because of the nutritional and economic benefits gained from it. This is why WWF-Philippines focuses its efforts on promoting sustainable fishing practices such as tuna handline fishing,” says WWF-Philippines Conservation Programs Head Joel Palma. 

Marine resource conservation should not only be spearheaded by nonprofits and local communities. Century Tuna, the country’s most trusted tuna brand, recognizes the importance of supporting sustainable fishing, which is why it decided to work hand-in-hand with WWF-Philippines. 

“Century Canning Corporation follows and complies with internationally-accepted standards. For instance, we buy fish only from vessels that have been accredited and monitored. We’re taking this a step further by funding WWF-Philippines’ initiative to support handline fishers,” says Century Canning Corporation VP and General Manager Greg Banzon. 

To support WWF-Philippines’ Pasuquin program, Century Tuna is introducing a new product called Century Tuna Handline, which offers individually caught Yellowfin Tuna chunks in olive oil. The handline tuna to be used is sourced from General Santos. 

Century Tuna Handline is a great catch not just because it has Omega3 and DHA for a healthy mind, heart and body – but also because it has premium taste. More importantly, it lets customers help local handline fishers. For each purchase of this new product, P1 goes to the WWF-Philippines’ Handline Tuna Fishery in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. 

Palma expressed his and WWF-Philippines’ appreciation for the support pledged by Century Tuna. “Our partnership with Century Tuna sets an example that local nonprofits, the corporate fishing sector and local communities can work together to address relevant issues against our marine resources. Our goal is to ensure that all parties benefit from this collaboration and eventually, to replicate the programme in other parts of the country.”

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