Sustainable Management of Tuna Fisheries and Biodiversity
Conservation in ABNJ

Objective

Achieve sustainable and efficient tuna fisheries production and biodiversity conservation through the systematic application of an ecosystem approach.

This project will focus on three component areas:

  • Supporting implementation of sustainable and efficient fisheries management and fishing practices
  • Reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing through strengthened and harmonized monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS)
  • Reducing ecosystem impacts from tuna fishing, including bycatch and associated species

About

Highly migratory tuna species account for about 20% of the value of all marine capture fisheries and their management is the direct responsibility of the five tuna regional fisheries management organizations (t-RFMOs). Over 85 countries harvest tuna in commercial quantities, with yearly exports accounting for about 8% of all internationally traded seafood. The value of the most important tunas is estimated at over US$10 billion annually.

With the strong demand for tuna, combined with overcapacity of fishing fleets, the status of existing tuna stocks is likely to deteriorate further if fisheries management is not improved. With collective action and partnering by all stakeholders at global, national and regional levels – especially t-RFMOs, their member countries and the tuna industry – ABNJ fisheries and ecosystems will be able to contribute effectively to the socioeconomic development and food and livelihoods security of the millions of people involved in these fisheries for generations to come.

Working with key stakeholders, this project strives for efficiency and sustainability in tuna production and biodiversity conservation, through the application of an ecosystem approach. This unique project draws together a large and diverse group of stakeholders – from consumers and industry to t-RFMOs, NGOs and international organizations – that play important roles in tuna fisheries. They will build on existing collaborations to facilitate optimal use of scarce capacity and resources in order to achieve the global goals for sustainable fishing and biodiversity conservation. Certain aspects will focus on all RFMOs, while other elements will concentrate on priority countries, regions and fisheries with a view towards capacity development.

The tuna RFMOs are:

CCSBT – Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna

IATTC – Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission

ICCAT – International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas

IOTC – Indian Ocean Tuna Commission

WCPFC – Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission