Global Tuna Advocacy Appeal
Understanding the impacts of COVID-19 on tuna RFMO plans and discussions in 2020, we appreciate the need for heightened focus on key priorities topics and decisions. With this said, we believe progress can and must be made on the important issues highlighted in the letter below.
August 13, 2020
ATTN: Heads of Delegation to IATTC, IOTC, ICCAT and WCPFC
This letter is submitted on behalf of the undersigned companies, non-governmental organizations and fishing industry associations, all of whom recognize that the sustainability of tuna stocks is integral to businesses and livelihoods, as well as to the health of the marine environment.
The undersigned agree that to ensure the long-term sustainability of tuna stocks, governments and regulatory bodies must effectively address three core elements: Stock and Ecosystem Management, Information and Data, and Transparency.
Your government serves as an important leader in tuna stock sustainability as a member of one or more of the four regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) charged with managing the world’s tropical tuna fisheries. We are writing to bring to your attention our collective views on the issues that require prioritized action in all RFMOs in the near term:
We recognize that the impacts of COVID-19 have made some meetings and discussions challenging. However, these challenges cannot be allowed to block progress on critical issues in tuna fisheries.
Specifically, we believe accelerated actions can and must be achieved on the following priorities in 2020:
Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC):
Adoption of a robust conservation management measure that is precautionary and based on scientific advice to limit fishing pressure on yellowfin & bigeye tunas.
Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC):
Adopt an effective rebuilding plan for yellowfin tuna that fully implements the 2015 Science Committee advice, takes all gears/fleets harvesting yellowfin into account, and addresses overfishing by 2027.
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT):
Protect shortfin mako sharks by heeding scientists’ warnings about North Atlantic depletion and South Atlantic imminent risk.
Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC):
Accelerate action on comprehensive, precautionary strategies across all tuna stocks by 2021 that minimize the risk of stock declining to undesirable levels.
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We believe these measures will positively impact the long-term sustainability of tuna stocks and the overall health of the marine ecosystem.
The companies that have signed this letter represent major seafood buyers that source seafood products from a diverse, international supply network. The non-governmental organizations work in more than 100 countries and engage suppliers and provide advice to retailers, buyers and food service companies regarding improvements in tuna sustainability. The fishing industry associations represent a variety of gear types, including purse seine, longline, troll, pole and line, and handline vessels active in tuna fisheries worldwide.
Collectively, we request that your government, as a member of one or more of the tuna RFMOs, take active steps to ensure significant progress on these issues at each of the relevant RFMO meetings in 2020, as a matter of priority.
Global Tuna Advocacy Appeal
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The sustainability of tuna stocks is integral to businesses and livelihoods, as well as to the health of the marine environment.
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