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Half of shelf stable tuna sustainable, says new report.

Nearly half of the world’s shelf stable tuna products are already being sourced in a sustainable or improving manner, with the potential for much more than that, according to the latest sector report from Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP).

The report, released today, is the latest sector report focused 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 41 percent of global production of shelf stable tuna as sustainable or improving.

“In addition, another 12 percent of global production with existing supply chain leverage is likely to shift to the improving category if publicly announced pre-FIPs or FIPs undergoing scoping are fully launched and generate adequate progress,” SFP analysts said in the report.

More improvement work, including a FIP based in Papua New Guinea and a national-level FIP in Japan, will take further leverage from the industry to make happen, but the report estimates that work could add another 23 percent of shelf stable tuna production to the global figures.

Jim Cannon, CEO of SFP, said: “Shelf stable tuna’s role as such a key commodity makes the data in this report terribly important in the grand scheme. The amount of shelf stable tuna that is already and will be meeting the T75 criteria is indicative not just of the interest in shelf-stable tuna, but in making sure the industry as a whole is doing everything it can to improve sustainable seafood production worldwide.”

SFP indicates that North American and EU markets are ideally placed to press suppliers and producers to initiate and participate more widely in relevant FIPs, most likely focusing on skipjack and yellowfin tuna improvements in the western and central Pacific Ocean. The launch of the report is timely, with the upcoming Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fisheries Commission meeting taking place in Hawaii on 9-14 December. The delegates could greatly assist accomplishing T75 for canned tuna by adopting comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategies for all tuna stocks.