Grupo Calvo and Atunlo collaborate to promote sustainable tuna fishery in the Canary Islands

Grupo Calvo. Sustainable tuna from Canary Islands
  • The initiative aims to boost the evaluation process with respect to the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) standard for tuna fishery in the Canary archipelago.
  • The event was attended by Carmelo Dorta, managing director of Fisheries for the Government of the Canary Islands and Antonio Morales Méndez, president of the Gran Canaria inter-island council.

Grupo Calvo presented in Las Palmas (Gran Canaria) the “Sustainable Canary Tuna” project. The initiative seeks to promote the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) sustainable certification process for tuna fishing listed in the Canary archipelago.

Driven by Grupo Calvo, in collaboration with Atunlo and with the support of the MSC, this initiative will help to highlight pole-and-line tuna fishery in the Canary Islands, which in the future could feature the MSC blue seal, an internationally recognized guarantee of sustainability that is becoming increasingly more important among consumers and food distribution.

Bringing together local fishermen’s associations and distribution chain managers, the event was attended by Carmelo Dorta, managing director of Fisheries for the Government of the Canary Islands; Antonio Morales Méndez, president of the Gran Canary inter-island council; Alberto Martín, head of MSC fisheries; Alberto Encinas, Grupo Calvo’s managing director; and Miguel Peñalva, Tuna Sales director for Grupo Calvo.

“Any system that enables the identification and differentiation of traditional fisheries is good news for the sector and for sustainability. The Sustainable Canary Tuna project seems to go this way and it is clear that the MSC brand will open many international markets to our tuna catches. Adapting these types of certificates to the multi-specific and versatile characteristics of our artisanal fleets is a major scientific and commercial challenge I hope to see fulfilled in the coming years,” stated Carmelo Dorta, managing director of Fisheries for the Government of the Canary Islands.

Today’s event marks the beginning of preparatory work aimed at being able to MSC-certify the tuna fishery of the Canary archipelago in the future. The associated tasks consist of providing various training activities; identifying interested associations and fishermen; conducting an independent pre-assessment to ascertain the state of the fishery; and could eventually include a fishery improvement project and end with the commencement of the evaluation process.

Obtaining MSC certification would mean achieving an internationally recognized endorsement which certifies that tuna comes from sustainable fisheries. In addition, tuna fishing in the region is afforded greater safety and confidence for the distribution channel and for consumers themselves, as seafood products bearing the MSC blue seal can be traced throughout the entire supply chain. “Sustainability is the foundation of this project. At Grupo Calvo we wish to work together with local associations to promote the evaluation process towards MSC certification of Canarian pole-and-line fishery and thereby provide assurance of being a sustainable and environmentally-friendly fishery. We want to help underscore the value of this raw material, the traditional fishing method employed and the fishermen’s activity,” said Albert Encinas, managing director of Grupo Calvo.

This project is part of the Grupo Calvo Responsible Engagement project, an initiative through which the company has undertaken 17 ambitious goals to be met by 2025 in three areas of action – oceans, environment and people – in order to transform its entire business. Noteworthy within these objectives is the emphasis on 100% of the tuna loins used by Grupo Calvo brands to come from responsible and sustainable fishing. “It is therefore our duty to contribute to adequate resource management and biodiversity protection,” explained Alberto Encinas. Accordingly, Grupo Calvo is working hand in hand with the MSC to train the local fishing community of the Canary Islands and thus achieve the recognition of a sustainable fishery.

Alberto Martín, head of MSC fisheries, in turn added: “The Canary Islands constitute a highly favorable scenario for these types of initiatives given the extensive fishing tradition and access to many species of tremendous value in the market. The path they are taking among government agencies, associations and market representatives is a promising one and can improve both the marketing of Canary seafood products and the sustainability of tuna stocks”.

The gathering concluded with a few words from Antonio Morales Méndez, president of the inter-island council of Gran Canary, who extended his gratitude for the invitation to this event “because it coincides with the priorities of action being carried out by the Gran Canary Inter-Island Council in favor of the primary sector in prioritizing sustainability in all its dimensions, increasing our food sovereignty, promoting the consumption of local products and strengthening the economic activity of small and medium-sized enterprises that generate employment and diversified economic activity. These are contents that make up our Ecoisla project, with which we aspire to be points of domestic and international reference in all of these indicators”.

Canned Canary tuna produced exclusively for the islands

As part of the presentation of this project, Sustainable Canary Tuna, Grupo Calvo announced a novelty in its range of products that is already being marketed exclusively for the islands and which will soon also be available on the peninsula: Calvo Tuna of Canarian origin caught one-by-one using a pole and line. This is a new product that represents the first step of the project presented today “and one to which we hope to add the MSC seal in the near future,” emphasized Alberto Encinas.

This product shows the effort Grupo Calvo has been making in recent years to promote throughout its value chain the responsible management and sustainability of the raw materials the company employs, especially involving tuna, while at the same time responding to increasing consumer awareness of ecological and sustainable products.