The first International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) Voyage of Discovery – an initiative designed to bring fishers from sustainable pole-and-line tuna fisheries together – has successfully concluded. The primary expedition brought two student fishers from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified Maldives pole-and-line skipjack tuna fishery to the MSC certified North Pacific albacore tuna fishery to spend a month aboard the F/V Royal Dawn, a commercial pole-and-line albacore vessel and member of the American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA).
The two aspiring pole-and-line fishers, Moosa Shahudhan and Abdulla Yaman, are currently enrolled in the new Fishermen’s Community and Training Centre (FCTC) in the Maldives. Their time aboard the F/V Royal Dawn off the coast of Washington state allowed Moosa & Yaman to experience the US pole-and-line fishery methods of monitoring sustainable fisheries, the use of radar and sonar technologies, and baitfish management, as well as hands-on experiences of catching albacore. Student Yaman commented, “We are really very proud to be the first fishermen from the Maldives who are experiencing albacore fishing through the IPNLF exchange initiative.”
Despite being more than 8,000 miles apart, the two fisheries share a very strong commitment to responsible management. Both the North Pacific albacore tuna fishery in North America and the Maldives pole-and-line skipjack tuna fishery are MSC certified, with the North Pacific albacore tuna fishery producing the first tuna to bear the MSC ecolabel.
Dan Averill, MSC fisheries outreach manager, Americas, said, “The opportunity for fishermen from different MSC certified fisheries to work together and learn from each other does not come up often, and we support the efforts of International Pole & Line Foundation for facilitating this exchange.”
“I am so pleased that the first IPNLF voyage has been a success. We endeavour to explore further options for cross-geographical, cross-generational learning opportunities that strengthen relationships between the responsible pole-and-line fisheries we work with,” said John Burton.
Returning to the FCTC has allowed Moosa and Yaman to share this knowledge with their peers and other fishers, hopefully ensuring a trickle-through of information gleaned from the exchange. “The invaluable experience and lessons learned by the Maldivian fishermen are of great importance to the other fishers of the Maldives,” commented Abdulla Shakir of the Maldives Fishermen’s Association.
Continuing on the success of the first leg of the IPNLF voyage, Jack Webster, a fisher from the MSC certified US pole-and-line caught North Pacific albacore tuna fishery, will travel to Indonesia and the Maldives in early 2015.