A fisherman in Mindoro returning with a 43-kilogramme yellowfin tuna. (Photo: WWF-Philippines/Gregg Yan)
Anfaco will thoroughly check Philippine tuna
Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 01:00 (GMT + 9)
The National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (Anfaco-Cecopesca) clarified that Spanish canners will not stop imports of tuna native to the Philippines but will exercise extreme controls.
The local canning industry has planned to exercise comprehensive control of the raw material from Philippine companies that do not respect labour standards set in international covenants.
This was expressed by Anfaco general secretary, Juan Manuel Vieites, to the newspaper Faro de Vigo.
Last week, the Association released a report issued by the organization Verité and funded by the Department of Labour of the United States, which claimed that there were serious violations of workers’ labour rights in the Philippine tuna industry, both in the processing industry and in the actual fishing fleet.
According to the data provided by Eurostat and released by Anfaco, 16 per cent of imports of yellowfin tuna in the Spanish industry comes from Philippines.
In 2011, Spain purchased 7,802 tonnes of Filipino frozen yellowfin tuna for processing.
"In the Philippines, as in Indonesia and the fleets, there are many small boats and our suppliers are well controlled, but still we will control the raw material further at origin to verify compliance with international labour and environmental standards," explained Vieites.
Furthermore, he recalled that Anfaco is one of the few Galician entities or companies adhered to the UN Global Compact agreement, which requires respect for all multilateral rules on labour and social and environmental responsibility.
Meanwhile, the head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), Miguel Arias Cañete, ensured that the compliance with control measures will be defended "without discrimination between operators from the European Union (EU) and those from other countries."
And he stressed that the fishing fleet and the local industry require identical 'rules' for all, since there is unfair competitiveness in the sea and on land.
According to Julio Moron, manager of the Associate Producers Organisation of Big Tuna Freezing Vessels (Opagac), the EU market is full of "holes" and mentioned the agreement between the EU and Pacific countries such as Papua New Guinea.
In this regard, he said the agreement provides "exemptions" in the rules of origin, which frees the shipments of canned products from offering proof of origin.
In Spain, the canning industry generates EUR 1,120 million per year and 62,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to the newspaper La Voz de Galicia.
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By Analia Murias