Tuna Traceability Declaration 2020 seeks traceability, social commitments from tuna industry

Published on
June 1, 2017

A new “Tuna Traceability Declaration” is seeking to encourage the tuna industry to improve sustainability and social conditions in the tuna-fishing industry.

The Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration was created in advance of United Nations Ocean Conference, taking place 5 to 9 June in New York City. The declaration is not legally binding, but is meant to encourage actions and partnerships from and between tuna harvesters, processors, retailers, traders and related nonprofits and concerned governments, to improve the health of tuna populations worldwide. The initiative is in response to the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources.

The declaration is being promoted by the nonprofit World Economic Forum, which brings together global leaders from diverse backgrounds, including business and government to aid the organization’s mission of being “committed to improving the state of the world.”

According to the World Economic Forum, The declaration requires the following commitments from its signees:

1. Tuna traceability commitment

Pledge that all tuna products in our supply chains will be fully traceable to the vessel and trip dates, and that this information will be disclosed upon request at the point of sale either on the packaging or via an online system.

2. Commitment to a socially responsible tuna supply chain

Pledge to eliminate any form of slavery and ensure suppliers at least meet minimum social standards in management practices as recommended in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s conventions and recommendations.

3. Commitment to environmentally responsible tuna sources

Pledge to source from tuna fisheries that have implemented: a) Robust science-based management plans, including harvest strategies that can maintain stocks at, or restore them at least to, levels which can produce maximum sustainable yield; and b) Measures to ensure that impacts of fisheries on the environment are sustainable, including bycatch mitigation techniques.

Put this pledge into effect by continuing to explore new opportunities to support the multi-stakeholder initiatives mentioned above, and work to continually increase sourcing from tuna fisheries certified by schemes that are internationally recognized by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI).

4. Government partnership

Work with governments to take actions needed to support the following initiatives: a) Implementing harvest strategies for all tuna stocks under the jurisdiction of each tuna RFMO by 2020, that will ensure sustainably managed tuna fisheries in line with SDG Target 14.4; b) Establishing systems to identify and restrict illegal seafood through government-led measures on traceability and transparency; c) Building capacity to establish and manage information systems to account for domestic and international fishing fleets, landings, enforcement and trade of seafood products, in line with the FAO Code of Conduct and the Port States Measures Agreement.

On 29 May, the Organization of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna Freezers (OPAGAC), an association representing eight Spanish tuna harvesting firms and a combined fleet of 40 tuna-seiners capturing approximately six percent of the world's catch, announced it had signed the 2020 Tuna Traceability Declaration. 

In a press release, OPAGAC said it has begun to update its vessels with new technology and processes to meet the obligations of the declaration.

"The Spanish tuna fleet guarantees the traceability of all its catches of tropical tuna,” OPAGAC Managing Director Morón said. “We believe that this transparency is essential for all players involved in the tuna trade to ensure not only legal, sustainable and responsible the fishing, but also trade and consumption.”

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