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A united ambition to bring more responsibility to the canned tuna market

A united ambition to bring more responsibility to the canned tuna market

The Tuna Protection Alliance (TUPA)

With nearly five million tonnes fished annually, tuna is one of the most important fisheries in the world. It is also a booming industry worth billions of dollars. But today one third of these stocks are overfished or at risk of overfishing, due mainly to the inadequate and opaque management of tuna fisheries that give free rein to illegal and uncontrolled fishing practices. This is why Earthworm Foundation and key players in the industry have come together as the Tuna Protection Alliance, working to meet demand without compromising resources for future generations.

TUPA has three main objectives:

  • Preserve the resource
  • Fight illegal fishing
  • Respect workers' rights

The group works to implement progressive change while taking into account socio-economic, environmental and scientific recommendations.

TUPA members (as shown above) are joined by Earthworm France as coordinator and a number of organisations who contribute their valuable expertise of the tuna industry. Contributors currently are WWF France, the FIAC (Federation of Preserved Food Industries), Orthongel (French organisation of frozen tuna producers), the GTA (Global Tuna Alliance), and the IPNLF (International Pole & Line Foundation). Their role is to provide a critical view of the group's orientations and actions. Therefore, these organisations can advise, make suggestions and challenge the group's strategy.

Since its launch in September 2018, the Tuna Protection Alliance's ambition is organised around two major axes:

  • Development of transparency and monitoring tools
  • Communication, with one voice, to stakeholders in the sector

TUPA notably voices its vision of the sector and appeals towards tuna managing organizations on its LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

Since its launch in September 2018, the Tuna Protection Alliance's ambition is organised around two major axes:

- Development of transparency and monitoring tools

- Communication, with one voice, to stakeholders in the sector

TUPA notably voices its vision of the sector and appeals towards tuna managing organizations on its LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

Activity in 2018

At launch in September 2018, the Tuna Protection Alliance's ambition was organised around two major axes:

  • Development of transparency and monitoring tools
  • Communication, with one voice, to stakeholders in the sector

To the end of 2018, the group mainly carried out transparency actions. Through mapping market sourcing, transparency data was been gathered: In 2017-2018, TUPA members’ volume was approximately 100,000 tonnes of tuna; 97% of these supplies come from purse seine; of which 14% on fad-free; - Yellowfin tuna is the most represented species, followed by Skipjack tuna; - The main fishing areas are the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic-East; - Almost 90% of supplies were traced back to ships, representing a panel or around 500 vessels supplying the market represented by group members.

2020 Achievements

Transparency and monitoring: a mapping exercise allowed to bring transparency to the members’ tuna supply chains on the French & Belgium markets, including retailer’s brands, national brands, and catering products.

The TUPA’s partner OceanMind conducted a multi-level analysis: verifying the identity of vessels as compared to the declarative data collected during the mapping exercise and their activity at sea; particularly by studying their trajectory, thanks to the automated identification system (AIS) signals.

Technical support: following recent campaigns documenting forced labor and suspected observer deaths on tuna vessels, the TUPA carried out exploratory bibliographic work on the social risks linked to tuna fishing. Also, a Pole and Line fisheries study was conducted in order to assess the practices and challenges of the Pole & Line fisheries supplying the TUPA members.

Advocacy: Since 2019, TUPA collaborates with the NGO TunaForum, and specially the GlobalTunaAlliance. Together TUPA and GTA joined forces in 2020 for advocacy actions, on behalf of the French and UK market, with a strong focus on Indian Ocean RFMO (Regional Fishery Management Organization).

Faits

97% of members' supplies come from purse seine (net fishing), of which 14% was FAD-free (not using objects to attract fish)
Yellowfin tuna was the most represented species, followed by Skipjack tuna. The main fishing areas are the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic-East
Almost 90% of supplies were traced back to ships, representing around 500 vessels supplying group members

Manifesto

Before entering the Tuna Protection Alliance, all companies must share the group’s values. These values are transcribed in a document entitled ‘Manifesto for a more sustainable tuna sector’. This manifesto reflects the common ambition of the group: by 2025, to offer a responsible tuna for sale.

Further information

If you would like any more information about the Tuna Protection Alliance you can reach out the coordinators:

  • Jeanne Delor, group coordinator
  • Marie Méhu, project manager on monitoring

Please call on +33 3 20 31 63 39 or send us a message.

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