Since 2008, WWF has been successful in helping to organize progressive tuna industry participants around a common set of objectives to improve tuna fishery management and conservation with an end goal of sustainable tuna fishing as measured by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard without conditions. This progress has built a framework to expand efforts and put market leverage to work for tuna sustainability. WWF is building on that success by effectively forming a new set of pre-competitive collaborations to significantly accelerate the advance toward tuna sustainability over the course of 2017 and subsequent years.
WWFs existing pre-collaborative efforts dedicated to tuna sustainability primarily engage processors and traders through the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). ISSF participants represent over 75% of the global market for canned tuna. Due to its current structure, fishing vessel owners, whether individuals or companies, are precluded from becoming ISSF participating companies.
WWF is now organizing a Global Tuna Producing Company collaboration (GTPC) led by major purse seine vessel owners, creating the opportunity to add their voice as leaders in tuna sustainability in coordination with ISSF. This collaboration will align the incentives between vessel-owning companies and ISSF participants (processors and traders) to ensure vessels harvesting tuna bound for US and EU markets ultimately meet the MSC sustainability standard. The purse seine vessel owners and their associations will also openly use their unique influence with governments that are members of the tuna Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) to achieve major policy changes.
Creating two complementary and closely interrelated organizations with shared goals and objectives will allow us to scale up best practices and ultimately move tuna RFMOs faster. This should lead to advancements on major sustainability issues like precautionary harvest strategies, effective enforcement, bycatch reduction (including FAD management) and observer safety. Both well-aligned forces are needed for governments to move efficiently and effectively on these and other issues.
The foundation for this work is in comes from a history of WWF working with major purse seine vessel owners and their associations to form fishery improvement projects i(FIPs) in each of the worlds oceans. These efforts are dedicated to removing all impediments to meeting the MSC standard and becoming MSC certified fisheries. WWFs sustainable tuna procurement guidelines for companies in the seafood value chain, i.e. suppliers, distributors, hotel chains, cruise lines and retailers, call for sourcing sustainable MSC certified tuna where available and then from ISSF participating companies that buy from vessels actively engaged in improvement projects.
Fisheries that participate in WWF co-sponsored fishery improvement projects are listed on websites of WWF and FisheryProgress.org, a global FIP website that provides third-party review against the Conservation Alliance FIP guidelines. The GTPC ties this work together to give greater ocean-wide and global leverage to their efforts in parallel with those of ISSF. The collaboration will provide a website where all participating tuna purse seine vessel FIPs and their progress can be easily located as well as the priority actions to improve tuna RFMOs.
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
- Eco-labelling, traceability, certification programmes
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
- Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
- Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
4 tuna purse seine fishery improvement projects established and coordinating with GTPC
144 major tuna purse seine vessels (25% of the 575 on the ISSF Proactive Vessel Register) included in the collaboration
All WWF tuna purse seine FIPs coordinating with GTPC accessible on FisheryProgress.org
Key RFMO objectives and each FIPs progress are highlighted on the GTPC website
Staff / Technical expertise
WWF staff expertise, tuna vessel owner expertise, Marine Stewardship Council technical experts
Time-frame: 2017 January - 2025 December
ISSF, OPAGAC, Thai Union Europe, Princes UK, ANABAC, ORTHONGEL, TUNACONS (NIRSA S.A., GRUPO JADRAN, EUROFISH, SERVIGRUP, TRIMARINE) and other tuna vessel owners in the future
Tuna purse seine fishing nations globally
Bill Fox, Vice President Fisheries, WWF US, firstname.lastname@example.org,