Mitsubishi-owned canned seafood company Princes Group this week committed to sourcing 100 percent of its Princes-branded tuna in the UK from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries by the end of 2025.
The plan will be done in three phases which will see Princes increase MSC-labelled tuna products to 25 percent by the end of 2023; 50 percent in 2024 and 100 percent by the end of 2025.
The ultimate goal will mean 75 million cans, or 11,000 metric tons, of MSC-certified tuna per year under the Princes brand, and the amount of certified sustainable tuna available in the UK will increase by five times, based on current volumes.
Source fisheries will include newly MSC-certified fleets in addition to the group’s existing MSC-certified suppliers.
Princes has been supporting Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) for over five years, with many of these now maturing and meeting MSC standards.
Last year, the company reached its goal of responsibly sourcing 100 percent of its branded tuna range, which it originally set in 2018.
The group committed in 2018 to only purchase tuna for all its brands from fisheries that are either already MSC-certified, engaged in a fishery improvement project (FIP), or from “verified and well managed” fish aggregating device (FAD)-free or pole-and-line sources.
Last year, Princes also reached its goal of reducing Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna sourcing by 50 percent on 2017 levels, a year ahead of its 2022 deadline, to support the long-term sustainability of the stock.
"Our 100 percent MSC-certified sustainable sourcing goal is another ambitious target, but one that we are confident in reaching through continued investment and engagement with retailers, fisheries, NGOs and other industry players," said Neil Bohannon, group director for seafood at Princes.
Global sales of MSC-labelled tuna hit over 100,000 metric tons for the first time last year, however, the volume of MSC-certified tuna products sold in the UK decreased by 12 percent against 2020.