Achieving Sustainable Tuna

Purse seine fishing vessels catch nearly 62% of the 4.2 million tons of tuna caught globally every year. To have the meaningful impact we all seek, NGOs need to collaborate on and advocate for outcomes and policies where we share common ground. Photo by Jeff Muir (2012), courtesy of ISSF.
Purse seine fishing vessels catch nearly 62% of the 4.2 million tons of tuna caught globally every year. To have the meaningful impact we all seek, NGOs need to collaborate on and advocate for outcomes and policies where we share common ground. Photo by Jeff Muir (2012), courtesy of ISSF.

By Susan Jackson and Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly

There is no endeavor quite like commercial tuna fishing. Perhaps no other industry is comprised of such a diverse group of stakeholders – with diverse opinions and approaches – that are so actively engaged in working toward a common goal.

As many different voices weigh in to positively affect the long-term sustainability of global tuna stocks, they may not always sing in unison. However, there is actually far more sustainability policy that major stakeholders agree on than not.

For example, you’d be hard-pressed to identify one conservation group or economic stakeholder that does not believe stock health and sustainability need to be monitored, and that fisheries need to have the rules and resources in place to maintain healthy levels. There are no sustainability-minded parties among us that don’t believe we need more research and outreach to fishers to minimize secondary ecosystem impacts associated with commercial fishing (e.g. bycatch).

This broad alignment is our greatest collective strength. And rather than an overemphasis on specific tactics and approaches that we individually champion, we are working on the efforts on which we collectively agree. This harmonization is most clearly seen in efforts to engage retailers, foodservice companies and others in supporting the continuous improvement of tuna fisheries through their conservation actions and procurement strategies.

These companies are interested in the answers to a few key questions: “What should we buy to ensure our tuna is sustainable?” “How can we make sure our tuna is not IUU-fished?” or “What can we can —> Read More

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