“Supermarkets warned to act now to prevent tuna stocks ‘collapse’”

The Global Tuna Alliance, an independent group of retailers and tuna supply chain companies, was established in 2019. The Global Tuna Alliance actively engages with RFMOs and their member countries to ensure that tuna ultimately meets the highest standards of environmental performance and social responsibility.

Yellowfin tuna from the Indian Ocean is currently sold by several major supermarkets in the Global Tuna Alliance. Responsible retailers have sought to influence best practice through their supply chains at a fishery level, as well as advocating for the adoption of effective policy by members of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), including a statement from the UK market urging IOTC delegations at the 2019 meeting in June to follow their own scientific advice and agree to a resolution which will confidently rebuild the stock to ensure it is no longer overfished, nor subject to overfishing.

However, at this meeting, delegations failed again to halt the decline of the Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna population by agreeing an overall catch reduction of around 10 percent. Furthermore, the nominal catch data reveals the 2018 catch of yellowfin tuna increased from 2014 by 6.7%. (423,393 tonnes from 396,635 tonnes). This is despite the fact that the scientific advice given to the IOTC was for a reduction in yellowfin catch of 20% originally from 2014 levels.

Retailers and their suppliers have all made firm commitments to source responsible seafood from well managed fisheries. Regrettably, this stock still does not meet these requirements, and the agreed cut in 2019 will not lead to a stock recovery. Nonetheless, prudent decision-making by IOTC delegates at the 2020 meeting can rectify this situation, and Global Tuna Alliance partners may choose to source yellowfin tuna to support decision makers and maintain influence; but time is running out for these decision-makers to act responsibly. Accordingly, we now are calling for the IOTC to agree a clear rebuilding strategy for yellowfin tuna that is equitable, proportionate and impactful.

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