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Tuna processing in Sri Lanka. (Photo: CBI)

More FIP for tuna fisheries would improve global fisheries sustainability

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Friday, February 02, 2018, 02:40 (GMT + 9)

While there are several successful fisheries improvement projects (FIPs) connected to fresh and frozen tuna fisheries around the world, the global sector could achieve much more with greater efforts in several countries, buyers and producers, says a report published by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP).

The report is based on SFP´s Target 75 Initiative, a global movement launched last year that sets the goal of seeing producers of 75 percent of the world’s seafood operating sustainably or improving toward sustainable production by the close of 2020.

According to the report, SFP classifies 15 percent of global fresh and frozen tuna as sustainable or improving toward sustainability. This percentage represents fisheries that are already operating under FIPs, and SFP believes adding more successful FIPs to the list will help the sector achieve the T75 criteria overall.

“Fresh and frozen tuna remains iconic in the seafood market but the fisheries have only made limited progress towards sustainability. We need to see a significant increase in FIPs – both in size, scale and number – to see this valuable product heading toward a sustainable future. Engaging the Japanese market is going to be crucial given its global dominance of the fresh/frozen tuna trade and its ability to leverage improvements from producer countries,” said Jim Cannon, CEO of SFP.

Encouraging national level FIPs both in Indonesia and Sri Lanka would expand the number of sustainable or improving fisheries worldwide, according to the report. It would further 19.5 percent of global production that could be classified as “improving.” Japan is also considered a key country for improving  the status of the global fresh and frozen tuna sector.

“Japan is classified as a country with some sustainability engagement efforts underway, thus efforts must be focused on collaborating with NGOs already working in Japan and on engaging the Japanese retail/food service sector,” SFP analysts said in the report.

SFP also suggests organizing a global supply chain roundtable (SR), considered an important component for management of multiple FIPs. So far, more than 20 seafood industry leaders have joined the SR and found value in its collaborative work.

"Through the tuna SR we were strongly challenged to support, proactively drive, and even lead FIPs,” said Hamish Walker, Chief Operating Officer at Seattle Fish Co. "As a result, we, with the other members of Sea Pact looked at how we could revive the Sri Lankan FIP. As it happened, local organizations were already working on this so we have been able to provide input, and we will continue to closely support their efforts. Similarly, Seattle Fish have worked directly with Chef's Trading to support the setting up of a new FIP in Costa Rica. What the SR has really provided is the challenge to get involved and lead change."

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