The EU surface longline fleet has been concentrating efforts on the implementation of national and regional strategies for the conservation of their target species including measures such as minimizing incidental catches, collaborating with the scientific community, and finning bans.
In 2014, an MSC pre-assessment was conducted for all swordfish and blue shark stocks, and in 2016, the fishery was close to meeting the MSC standard for north and south Atlantic swordfish. Focus on improvements for all the fleet operations moved towards promoting the creation of a FIP for all swordfish (Xiphias gladius ) and blue shark (Prionace glauca ) stocks for the North and South Atlantic Ocean, the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
The industry community recently created the ANECTEAM association to work together with the EU surface longline fleet. ANECTEAM is focused on getting visibility and recognition from the consumers, raising public and environmental NGO opinions about efforts to boost sustainability, encouraging distribution chains to purchase the fishery’s products, and increasing recognition at the international level of a sustainable industry and fleet that is allowed to trade in fins and shark meat.
This FIP represents 4 shipowners’ associations (90 % catches EU fleet), 14 supply chain companies (80 % UE), and 160 fishing vessels (95% of EU fishing vessels in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans). Due to their migratory nature and extensive distribution throughout several oceans, the management of swordfish and blue shark is carried out internationally by RFMOs (ICCAT, IOTC, IATTC, and WCPFC) through a system of catch totals (TAC)
Based on the MSC pre-assessment for the North and South Atlantic Spanish longline fishery in 2014 and a MSC full assessment in 2016 for swordfish, previously conducted, the scoring was updated in 2019 following the last MSC standard 2018; a new scoring was also carried out for blue shark according to last ICCAT assessment for BSH conducted in 2015 -edited in 2017- and mako shark for Principe 2 in 2017 (see full information in the Scoping Doc). A number of Performance Indicators (Pis) were scored so that the fishery would fail under a full MSC assessment (SG <60) and required conditions for other PIs (SG 60-79). The general objective is to increase the PIs (scored <60 or 60-79) to SG>80. The FIP Blues has been originally designed to be implemented in three oceans: Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian.
The present FIP will start by implementing the actions in the Atlantic ocean since the full MSC Assesment was focused on these fisheries, both north and south stocks. At the same time, in the subsequent years after the beginning of the tasks for the Atlantic, we will develop the Work Plan Action for the other oceans´ swordfish and blue shark fisheries.