From Scotland to Switzerland, European families regularly enjoy tuna caught in the Maldives, hooked by the centuries-old fishing method of pole and line. In the UK, for example, most of the tinned MSC certified tuna you find in Waitrose and Sainsbury’s is Maldivian skipjack. In the Maldives, fishing is not just an industry, it’s a way of life. After tourism, tuna is the country’s major source of income and its primary export.
One of the things we get asked a lot is “How did a dredge fishery get MSC certified?” It’s a reasonable question. Dredgers don’t have the best reputation with environmentalists and, in my heart, I count myself as an environmentalist and I think this certification is great news. So what gives Shetland the edge?
I’m often heard talking about Shetland’s strong history of spatial planning, closed areas, fishermen’s input, links to good science and the fact the they have a regulated fishery, all of which contribute to their achievement of MSC certification. While the achievement of MSC certification is down to a combination of a number of things this blog is a chance for me to go into a little more detail, to help explain a little more about what sets this fishery apart from some others.