Fair Trade Program

In 2014, MDPI became the implementing partner for the first pilot project of Fair Trade USA–SEAFOOD, where Coral Triangle Processors — a processor and also exporter of Yellowfin Tuna is the client/certificate holder.


Fair trade (www.fairtradeusa.org) is a simple way to make sure every purchase means. When consumers buy a product with a Fair Trade certified label, they know the fishermen and workers who produce it get a fair return for their hard work. This means that prices and wages are better, safer working conditions, environmental protection, and the fishers receive a monetary award, called the Premium Fund.


In this way, Fair Trade is different from other seafood certifications. It is not focused solely on the sustainability of the resource but also supports improvements socially in the community and the supply chain. The standard considers the stakeholder relationships; the effects of fishing activity on the environment; the method of fishing; the recording of fish catches; product traceability; the factory and its workers, social standards, safety in the workplace and more. The certification process is a six-year system, with continuous improvements and third party audits required on an annual basis. While the certificate holder and implementation partner (in this case MDPI) require a strong input, a large emphasis is on fisher and community empowerment. The standard aims to ensure that over time an increasingly larger proportion of program implementation and responsibility is with the community of fishermen. It is in the interest of these fishermen, who depend on yellowfin tuna catches for a livelihood, that sustainability of the resource is maintained and the program aims to teach them this.


The world’s first Fair Trade Seafood, in this case handline yellowfin tuna, is now available at Safeway, Hy-Vee, Albertsons and Price Choppers stores across US, recognizable with the Fair Trade USA logo. As part of the Fair Trade certificate, fishermen receive a Premium Fund based on the volume of tuna caught by Fair Trade fishermen that passes Quality Control tests and is exported by Coral Triangle Processors. Since July 2016, the fishermen receive US$0.30 per kilogram exported, (see Capture Fisheries Standard – Premium Fund and Traceability in the menu on the right for more detail). The Fair Trade standard stipulates that 70% of this fund can be spent on community projects and 30% must be spent on environmental projects.