A new hire has been made by the Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) as it looks to build relationships with Japanese businesses operating in the tuna sector. The GTA was established by supply chain companies (including major retailers such as Tesco, Ahold Delhaize and Asda, wholesalers such as Metro, and tuna brands such as Princes Ltd) to pool their commercial leverage to influence tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (tRFMOs) to manage tuna fisheries more responsibly. In 2022, the GTA experienced a boom in growth as it welcomed 29 new partners, bringing its total to 53. It’s now hoping to break ground in Japan, a hugely important and influential marketplace for tuna, but where it currently has no partners.
The person selected for the role of Japan Outreach Officer is Gunther Errhalt, a former US Navy veteran who currently resides in Tokyo where he runs a fisheries and maritime security consulting group. Gunther has worked on projects for international groups such as the United States Coast Guard, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Global Fishing Watch. As part of his new role, Gunther will engage with the Japanese seafood supply chain to promote the GTA’s aims and objectives and secure membership of Japanese companies whose values align with those of the GTA. The role is being funded by Sea Pact.
Gunther becomes the third member of staff at the Global Tuna Alliance, and its first since the GTA received funding from the Walton Family Foundation in 2021 to hire a Director of Outreach and Engagement based in the USA. This position proved to have an immediate impact, with the GTA subsequently gaining 18 partners from North America in 2022, and its first American retailer, H-E-B. The GTA is now setting its sights on the biggest marketplace for tuna in Asia.
Speaking about the reasoning behind bringing in a Japan Outreach Officer, GTA Executive Director Dr. Tom Pickerell said:
“The strength of the GTA’s advocacy is derived from the collective purchasing power of its partners. No one company can achieve tuna fishery sustainability on its own – no one company buys enough volumes to significantly influence tuna RFMOs; there must be collaboration. From this perspective, the more companies in the tuna sector that are GTA partners, the more we will be able to collectively lever our influence to bring about reforms that will make tuna fisheries more sustainable.
“However, as tuna is a global food powered by a global industry, it’s equally important that the members we do have are distributed across all parts of the world. With partners based in Japan, we would have commercial leverage in this extremely important marketplace for tuna, and we would also be able to exert greater influence over several RFMOs where the Japanese delegation is a key player.”
“We’re looking forwards to working with Gunther in exploring this new territory for the GTA and hope we see more new partners joining this year.”