Sociedad Cooperativa del Mar Pesca Restinga (PESCARESTINGA) and Cofradia De Pescadores Nuestra Señora De Los Reyes (Cofradia de La Restinga) have become the latest Members of the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), the non-profit association that is committed to developing and supporting responsible one-by-one tuna fisheries and supply chains.
In Spain, the ‘cofradías’ (fishermen’s guilds) are traditionally deeply rooted in the fishing communities and are key institutions for channelling fishery participation in marine resource management activities. Both PESCARESTINGA and Cofradia de La Restinga represent the interests of the one-by-one tuna fishery of El Hierro, Canary Islands. While PESCARESTINGA handles the commercialisation of the catch, Cofradia de La Restinga acts as an administrative body with its key roles including managing vessel and fishery documentation, as well as advocating for the fishery’s interests at various government levels.
The El Hierro one-by-one tuna fishery comprises 14 vessels including two 12-metre boats that account for approximately 80% of the catch. Landings are dominated by skipjack, but yellowfin are also targeted when they migrate through seasonal warm waters. The majority of the island’s fresh tuna is transported directly to Tenerife, while the frozen skipjack goes to Gran Canaria.
El Hierro is internationally renowned for the rich diversity of its marine life, making it a haven for divers. The island’s fishers were a driving force behind the creation of a 750-hectare marine reserve that forms part of the larger El Hierro Biosphere Reserve (designated by UNESCO in the year 2000).
David Pavón, Chairman/President of PESCARESTINGA, says, “It is a pleasure to be part of IPNLF’s community, which defends, promotes and acts to achieve respectful, healthy and sustainable fisheries management from both ecosystem and socio-economic perspectives. We are very happy to know there are people who understand our world, and we also believe that combining knowledge and efforts is the best way to transform the rest of the world and achieve a more sensible reality.”
Fernando Gutiérrez, President of Cofradia de La Restinga, adds, “Our Cofradia is dedicated to defending one-by-one caught tuna. Joining IPNLF was an obvious decision to make because the organisation is a big ally of these responsible and sustainable fisheries. It is important to know that as fishers of tuna by traditional pole-and-line, El Hierro has this international support and to know that we’re in this together.”
PESCARESTINGA and Cofradia de La Restinga join IPNLF’s growing network of value chain stakeholders from all over the world that are collectively working to enhance one-by-one tuna fisheries and the value that they deliver to communities connected to them. Fellow Canary Island organisation, the Lanzarote-based Organización de Productores de Túnidos y Pesca Fresca (Optuna No 42) was also recently announced as a Member.
Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF, comments, “We are delighted to extend our reach in the Canary Islands by welcoming PESCARESTINGA and Cofradia de La Restinga into our Member network. El Hierro’s pole-and-line tuna fishery provides invaluable support to the island’s coastal communities in terms of nutrition and livelihoods, and it’s essential that in an age of large-scale industrial fishing this responsibly managed fishery is given every opportunity to thrive in current and future supply chains. Indeed, IPNLF maintains that it is essential that all of the world’s traditional, small-scale one-by-one tuna fisheries are heard and nurtured so that they remain a key component of the broader seafood sustainability landscape.”