Canary Islands one-by-one tuna fishermen join IPNLF

Canary Islands one-by-one tuna fishermen join IPNLF

A non-profit tuna producer organisation based on the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands has become the latest Member of the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF). Organización de Productores de Túnidos y Pesca Fresca (Optuna No 42) represents the interests of the pole-and-line tuna fishery of the Canary Islands, and has been supporting local fishermen and coastal communities in the region for more than a hundred years.

Optuna No 42 was founded in 1991 by 21 pole-and-line fishermen to safeguard the future of the fishery and to improve the commercialisation of its members’ tuna catches. Its membership is comprised of six pole-and-line tuna vessels, between 24 and 34 metres in length and carrying twelve crew. Additional support is provided by boats from Fuerteventura, La Graciosa and Puerto del Carmen, among others.

The organisation is governed by a general assembly and a board of directors. Fishing effort is co-ordinated by the board, which sends out vessels and also keeps a live record of the catches throughout the fishing season. Returns are evenly divided among all fishers from the fleet, regardless of the vessels’ specific catches. As well as supplying the local market, one-by-one tuna products are shipped twice a week to Spain.

‘The Canary Islands fishery is very important for the local community, and has been for a very long time. Our ancestors caught tuna one-by-one in small boats with sails and paddles,’ said Don Andres Cedres Alonso, Managing Director of Optuna No 42.

‘We maintain the same sustainable fishing principles today through our pole-and-line fleet and want to ensure that this fishery and its resources are preserved for generations to come. The decision to join IPNLF is an important part of that strategy, and we look forward to working together to further support our policy of responsible, artisanal fishing.’

Through its membership of IPNLF, Optuna No 42 joins a 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.

‘We are delighted to welcome Optuna No 42 and the pole-and-line fishers that it represents into our Member network,’ commented IPNLF managing director Martin Purves.

‘We look forward to supporting efforts to protect this culturally important fishery and ensuring a viable and vibrant future for the Canary Island’s fishing communities.’