Spanish tuna fishing group signs UN Global Compact’s Sustainable Ocean Principles

Published on
June 10, 2020

The Organization of Associated Producers of Large Tuna Freezers (OPAGAC) – which is responsible for catching 8 percent of the world’s global haul of tuna annually – has signed the United Nations’ Sustainable Ocean Principles, which call for the adoption of sustainable and socially responsible policies.

The principles are part of the United Nations’ Global Compact, which OPAGAC joined in January 2019. Under the principles, OPAGAC has pledged to evaluate the impact of its operations on ocean health; Consider sustainable business opportunities that result in ocean restoration and preservation; Take active measures to avoid polluting the oceans; Interact responsibly with regulatory authorities; Support the implementation of best practices; Respect the right to work and the rights of indigenous peoples in activities related with their business; Share scientific data to support research; and be transparent in its business actions.

“In signing the Sustainable Ocean Principles, OPAGAC, which is a member of the UNGC Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business, renews its commitment to the health, governance, and sustainable use and development of oceans for today’s generations and the future’s, and it will be integrating significant ocean-related risks and opportunities into its corporate strategy, risk management, and reports,” the group said in a press release. “In the spirit of continuous improvement, OPAGAC commits now to these Sustainable Ocean Principles in the belief that concerted action can safeguard the future of ocean-based industries while at the same time contributing to a healthy ocean.”

The initiative is in alignment with the Transparent Tuna Initiative, an agreement between European fleets and third countries promoting lawful management of commercial fishing operations. The pledge also puts OPAGAC in accord with a 2014 agreement between the Spanish Fishing Confederation (CEPESCA) and European Union Secretary-General of Fisheries calling for supervision of the unloading of foreign vessels at Spanish ports.

The pledge also aligns OPAGAC with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 – in particular, goals 8, 12, 14, 16, and 17 – which respectively call for fair labor standards, more inclusive hiring practices, and sustainable growth, as well as more responsible production and consumption of resources, the sustainable use of the oceans, sustainable fisheries management, combating corruption and bribery, and entering into partnerships to advance those goals..

“OPAGAC aligns itself with goals 8 and 12 through its Responsibly Fished Tuna standard, a world pacesetter in good fishing practice, because it is the only standard that voluntarily envisions not only legal requirements, but also social and labor conditions on board fishing vessels pursuant to ILO Convention 188,” OPAGAC said. “In line with SDG 14, OPAGAC also promotes the long-term sustainable management of tropical tuna stocks in all three of the oceans it fishes and the reduction of its business’s environmental impact on the marine ecosystem through the fishery improvement project, which OPAGAC runs in cooperation with the WWF.”

Photo courtesy of OPAGAC

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