Fisheries & Aquaculture News

IPNLF, Seafood Souq, and Omani Fishers Demonstrate Source of Sashimi-Grade Yellowfin Tuna

The International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) and its member Seafood Souq joined forces to conduct a pilot project using IPNLF’s Fisheries Improvement Toolkit.

This collaboration focused on targeted improvements in one-by-one tuna operations introducing high-quality, sustainably caught Omani tuna as an alternative source for the global seafood market with Seafood Souq providing a direct route to global buyers via their digitised seafood marketplace.

Oman’s 3,165km coastline is home to a variety of marine life with a long-standing history of traditional artisanal fishing operated by highly skilled, Omani fishers. Omani tuna is, more often than not, sold for a domestic market rather than exported internationally, but it holds huge potential.

One of the challenges faced by this fishery was developing the techniques to provide the highest quality tuna product (“grade-A”) to meet the demands of international buyers. In the global market, high quality tuna for sushi and sashimi is often bought from longline, rather than small-scale fisheries using low-impact techniques like handline. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

The results of this project presents Omani Handline fishers as new contenders for suppliers of sashimi and sushi grade tuna through Seafood Souq’s digitized marketplace connecting global buyers through an efficient and traceable cold chain at a true global market price.

“As a technology company with sustainability at our core, we aim to be a leader in the Blue Economy, to benefit both buyers and fishers across the globe. Identifying and developing this project in Masirah, Oman and our partnership with local and topical experts, demonstrates the good we can bring through collaboration to the industry and to those who depend on it for a living. Through this programme with IPNLF we have successfully supported the four key goals of the United Nations SDGs: Zero Hunger, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production and Life Below Water,” said Sean Dennis CEO & Co-founder, Seafood Souq.

Seafood Souq, together with partner Ocean Experts in Oman, IPNLF’s Fishery Improvement Manager Craig Turley and IPNLF member Ryan Nienaber (experienced one-by-one tuna fisher), used their combined expertise, and IPNLF’s FIT (Fisheries Improvement Toolkit) to develop a Seafood Quality Assurance-project for the fishers located in Oman.

Over 10 days in Oman, the team provided technical training in fish handling and cold storage and successfully demonstrated that, with the right techniques, Omani handline tuna can become ‘Grade-A’ quality, and post harvest losses can be eliminated.

This project has seen an increase in product quality, reduced waste, reduced environmental impact and supports better economics for the local fishers and the region by expanding their horizons beyond the shores of the Omani market.

One-by-one fishing gear, by design, selectively harvests healthy tuna, while having minimal negative impacts on broader ecosystems. By improving the efficiency and sustainability of low-impact fishing methods like these we can ensure a healthy ocean, and subsequently a healthy planet, for our future.

Nature-positive food production systems recognise that biodiversity underpins the delivery of all ecosystem services, on which humanity depends, and that these are critical for the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Paris Agreement.

To achieve this, IPNLF develops fisheries which have sustainably managed improved yields but focus on reduced costs on people or planet and aim to maximise biodiversity and ecosystem functions, which enhances resilience to climate change, and contributes to a more equitable and sustainable world. This project is an example of how IPNLF’s Fishery Improvement Toolkit can provide a framework to develop and implement cost-effective improvement projects on the ground. By working with partners and utilising our in-house expertise we can quickly deliver meaningful results, beyond expectations.

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