BRC has been helping The Global Tuna Alliance (who has shared retailer members) with lobbying and advocacy efforts as it relates to tuna. The below priority asks have been sent to several countries including Seychelles, Maldives, Mauritius, and the European Union.

Priority Ask #1:

Yellowfin Rebuilding[1]

  • The adoption of an effective rebuilding plan for yellowfin tuna that will rebuild the overfished stock in two generations
  • We saw this issue as critical to address in 2020 for two reasons:
  • The current measure is interim and therefore must be renewed or revised this year.
  • Although a rebuilding plan was adopted by the Commission in 2016 and revised and extended in 2019, the negotiated outcomes resulted in reductions in catch that are not significant enough to rebuild the stock to a sustainable level in the agreed timeframe.

 

Priority Ask #2:

Mako Shark Conservation[2]

  • ICCAT should agree to protect shortfin mako sharks by heeding their own scientists’ warnings about North Atlantic depletion and South Atlantic imminent risk. Specifically:
  • Immediately prohibit all shortfin mako retentions
  • Ensure specific scientific advice for minimizing incidental mortality is developed and implemented as a matter of urgency.

 

Priority Ask #3:

Harvest Strategies

  • We strongly urge the acceleration of action to develop comprehensive, harvest strategies across all tuna stocks as stated in CMM 2018-01 to minimize the risk of stock declining to undesirable levels.
  • Furthermore, in November 2018, the Conformity Assessment Bodies responsible for tuna fisheries submitted a variation request to the Marine Stewardship council (MSC) to apply consistent timing for meeting conditions mostly related to harvest strategies (HS) and harvest control rules (HCRs). Tuna fisheries in the MSC program aligned their HCR conditions in spring 2019, accelerating some deadlines, and extending others, after which certifications will be suspended.
  • Our most pressing concern is the western Pacific skipjack, where the MSC certified fisheries contribute 778,891mt or 15% of total global tuna catch. This is at risk of suspension should HCRs not be adopted by June 2022.
  • This would have a substantial impact on the market.

[1] Stock is overfished with overfishing occurring

[2] Shortfin mako is classified by IUCN as globally endangered and has been listed under CITES Appendix II in 2019. However, in the Atlantic the situation is even more dire: ICCAT’s own Scientific Committee have warned since 2017 that shortfin mako has been overfished and overfishing continues, while recovery of the North Atlantic stock will likely take ~25 years even if fishing could be cut to zero. But even then, there is only a 53% chance of rebuilding by 2045, while even a modest catch limit of 500 tonnes a year (including dead discards) has only a 52% probability of rebuilding by 2070.