Promoting stricter environmental measures at the regional levelby Communications TeamMarch 23rd, 2017

Today, the Alliance and our members – Grupomar, Herdez del Fuerte, Pesca Azteca and Procesa – joined the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and over 70 other organizations (82 in total) to advocate for stricter environmental measures, including 100% observer coverage of boats, electronic monitoring standards, and stricter measures on fish aggregating devices (FADs). Tuna companies, NGOs, fleet associations, and retailers co-sign letter.

The March 21 outreach letter to four tuna RFMOs was co-signed by a record-high number of nongovernment organizations, tuna processing companies, fleet associations, retailers, and importers and food service operators worldwide. The RFMOs are IATTC (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission), ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas), IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission), and WCPFC (Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission).

To manage tuna stocks, countries sharing tuna resources joined together decades ago to create RFMOs, governing bodies that are responsible for establishing management measures (such as catch limits), monitoring the health of tuna stocks and bycatch, and putting in place tools for monitoring fishing activities. More than 4.8 million tonnes of tuna — a major food source worldwide — were harvested in 2015, as reported in ISSF’s recent Status of the Stocks report. Harvest strategies are science-based frameworks for responsibly managing tuna (or other fish) stocks, including guidelines and limits for fishing vessels. MCS tools — which provide transparency into fishing operations — include human observers, satellite vessel monitoring systems, electronic monitoring systems on vessels, and data collection and dissemination.

The ISSF-coordinated joint outreach letter urges the RFMOs — which oversee tuna fishing in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans — at their 2017 meetings to:

  • Develop precautionary harvest strategies, including specific timelines to adopt target reference points, harvest control rules and other elements. The ocean where Mexico fishes already has these in place but we will continue to work with NGOs to improve these measures.
  • Where it is not already in place, require 100% observer coverage for all purse seine fishing vessels and all at-sea transshipment activities. Mexico – and the Alliance members — already have 100% coverage by independent observers on all of our boats.
  • Identify and sanction non-compliance with the existing mandatory 5% observer coverage requirement for longline vessels.
  • Develop and adopt standards for electronic reporting and electronic monitoring, for all major fishing gear types, and modernize vessel monitoring systems.
  • Develop science-based recommendations for managing FADs (fish aggregating devices), including for stock assessments. Mexico heartily supports measures for managing all fishing techniques including FADs.
  • Adopt measures for using non-entangling FAD designs, to protect sharks and other nontarget species. Our fishing technique is the most protective of tuna populations and nontarget species, and we hope other industries will strive for the same goals as our industry: zero mortality for nontarget species.

A useful review of RFMO progress and gaps across these crucial areas is available in the following ISSF blog:

The letter’s 83 signatories are:
Ahold Delhaize (Global)
Aldi North (Global)
Aldi South (Global)
American Albacore Fishing Association
American Bird Conservancy
American Tuna
Anova (US)
Anova Seafood, BV
Auchan Retail (Global)
BirdLife International
Bumble Bee Seafoods
Carrefour (Global)
Casino (FR)
Caterers Choice (UK)
Client Earth
Conservation International
Co-op (UK)
Coop Italia (IT)
Coop Trading (All Scandinavia)
Edeka (DE)
Environmental Defense Fund
Eroski (ES)
Greencore (UK)
Grupo Conservas Garavilla (Isabel)
Grupo Maritimo Industrial (Grupomar)
Herdez del Fuerte
Horizon Fisheries
IUCN SSC Tuna & Billfish Specialist Group
Kroger (USA)
Lidl (Global)
Loblaws Canada
M & J Seafood (UK)
Marks & Spencer (UK)
Mercadona (ES)
Migros (CH)
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Morrisons (UK)
New England Seafood International (UK)
Ocean Brands
Ocean Harvesters Operative
Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna (PAST)
Pesca Azteca
Pick N Pay (South Africa)
RS Cannery
Sainsbury’s (UK)
SEAPAC (a subsidiary of Kingfisher)
Sodexo (Global)
Spar (Austria)
Spar (South Africa)
Sustainable Fish Cities
Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
Thai Union/COSI
Thai Union Europe
The Nature Conservancy
Thunnus Overseas Group/Conserveries des Cinq Océans
Tri Marine
Tunago Fishery, Ltd.
Warenverein (DE)
Wegman’s (USA)
Woolworths (South Africa)
Worldwise (UK)