NEW GLOBAL COMMITMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE TUNA
New global commitment for sustainable tuna. A new global commitment aiming to clean up global tuna fisheries, the 2025 Pledge towards Sustainable Tuna (25PST) has begun its sign-on. It is convened by the Global Tuna Alliance, Friends of Ocean Action and the World Economic Forum and is inviting responsible businesses throughout the tuna supply chain, as well as governments and civil society organisations committed to sustainable tuna, to sign up.
Signatories to the 25PST commit to working towards a global tuna sector that meets the highest standards of environmental performance and social responsibility, through demonstrable improvements in supply chain practices and fisheries management.
Tuna is one of the most popular seafoods across the world, from sushi to niçoise salad. It also plays a vital role in the balance of ocean life and is a critical part of marine ecosystems, and a critical source of livelihoods for many. In the Asia-Pacific region alone, the tuna industry directly employs more than 6 million people. But several tuna populations are being overfished, and management decisions are too often based on short-term financial objectives. Tuna fisheries can result in incidentally caught bycatch species including seabirds, sea turtles, marine mammals, sharks and rays.
Some tuna fisheries are also blighted by accusations of human rights abuses. Most tuna fishing takes place on the high seas, beyond the reach of enforcement agencies. Crew members can in some cases have limited or no safe access to communication methods, effective grievance mechanisms or access to remedy. International migrant labour on tuna fishing vessels may be particularly isolated – not only physically at sea but also by language and culture – leaving them exposed to risk of abuse.
Tackling these challenges is made more difficult as tuna is one of the most heavily traded food commodities around the globe, often passing through many stages from catch to consumption. Long and complex supply chains can make it difficult for product information to be recorded accurately and consistently, and shared throughout each step in the chain. Commitment and collaboration across geographies and sectors are needed to improve the tuna supply chain.
“I strongly welcome the 2025 Pledge towards Sustainable Tuna and the clear commitment of leaders from a range of sectors to take better care of tuna fisheries globally. Improving fisheries management is a key focus of the Sustainable Development Goal for the ocean, SDG14, to conserve and sustainably use the ocean’s resources. We have to work together to ensure tuna fisheries are environmentally and socially responsible, from bait to plate, and I urge seafood businesses, governments and civil society organisations to join this important pledge,” said Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean and Co-Chair of Friends of Ocean Action.
The 25PST replaces the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration, a voluntary statement that emerged from a dialogue among governments, businesses and civil society organisations convened by the World Economic Forum. Spurred by the UN Ocean Conference in 2017, the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration was endorsed by 67 leaders of the world’s retailers, tuna processors, marketers, traders and harvesters, with the support of 21 influential civil society organisations and six governments.
The progress report published by the Global Tuna Alliance highlighted key achievements by the signatories on its completion, and 25PST will further build on this momentum.
All Global Tuna Alliance partners have signed onto the 2025 Pledge towards Sustainable Tuna.
“Partner companies of the Global Tuna Alliance have already shown serious commitment to a responsible tuna supply chain through improvements in their own operations and advocacy at Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. Our shared vision of tuna meeting the highest standards of environmental performance and social responsibility will be boosted by the 2025 Pledge towards Sustainable Tuna and I strongly encourage other business, government and civil society leaders to sign up and join the movement towards much greater sustainability,” said Dr Tom Pickerell, Executive Director of the Global Tuna Alliance.
While progress has been made in recent years, there remains much to do to improve tuna supply chains to ensure they are environmentally and socially sustainable, while being transparent and traceable. The 25PST will play a crucial role in continuing to bring about improvements, and has been registered as a voluntary commitment for implementation of the UN SDGs on the UN Ocean Conference website. The Global Tuna Alliance will monitor progress of the signatories to the 25PST annually and report to the UN annually.