Letter to European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Concerning Stakeholder Involvement in EU tuna RFMO Position Development

Dear Commissioner Sinkevičius

I am writing on behalf of the Global Tuna Alliance, a precompetitive collaboration of retailers, suppliers, wholesalers and brands with a major interest in improving the sustainability of the tuna sector. Together, these companies operate in 116 countries with a combined annual turnover of over USD $255bn.

The Global Tuna Alliance supports the implementation of SDG 14 (“Life Below Water”) and we believe that Target 4 (effectively regulate harvesting…implement science-based management plans) is a critical piece of the SDG puzzle.

We are actively involved in tuna RFMO advocacy, calling for accelerated action on comprehensive Harvest Strategies to be implemented simultaneously with the development of precautionary Reference Points and Harvest Control Rules. Despite the huge commercial importance of the marketplace, we feel that our voice is not being heard in the development of EU tuna positions.

We have recently joined the Long Distance Advisory Council and hope to contribute through this forum, though we are fortunate that we have the capacity to engage. Others are not as able.

It is becoming an urgent matter for the policies of the European Commission to start representing not only the catching sector, but trade, retail, consumer and NGOs interests and let their voice be heard in order to have sustainable tuna at on their plates.

In a recent event hosted Pew and the Global Tuna Alliance, attendees – including European retailers, supply-chain companies and associated stakeholders – were asked if they support a declaration (see below) which called on the EU to safeguard the supply of sustainably caught tuna by championing and advancing better Harvest Strategies as a priority during the 2021 RFMO season, and to improve its engagement with stakeholders when developing the EU positions at RFMOs. 89% of attendees agreed they would support the declaration.

We would be keen to discuss this matter with you in more detail. I remain at your disposal for any questions.

Yours sincerely

Tom Pickerell

Declaration of EU trade and market stakeholders on sustainable tuna policies

The European Commission has the responsibility to defend the interests of all relevant stakeholders when representing the EU at Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. European retailers, supply-chain companies and associated stakeholders have a vested interest in ensuring the steady supply to the market of tuna that ultimately meets the highest standards of environmental performance and social responsibility.

As such we call on the Commission to address the following, to:

  • Demonstrably champion and advance the development and adoption of harvest strategies in order to safeguard a stable supply of sustainably caught tuna as a priority during the 2021 RFMO meeting cycle, including by adopting harvest strategies in tuna RFMOs in which the EU is a contracting party.
  • Ensure full and early engagement with all relevant stakeholders when developing the EU position at RFMOs on the different levels where these policies are discussed, including the executive policy bodies.
  • Improve transparency and accountability in the way these policies are shaped and implemented in the tuna RFMOs.

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