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TUPA: a united ambition to bring more responsibility to the canned tuna market

TUPA: 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 over-exploited or at limits of over-exploitation, due mainly to inadequate and opaque management of tuna fisheries, giving free rein to illegal and uncontrolled fishing practices that are putting pressure on this delicate ecosystem.

The Tuna Protection Alliance (TUPA) is an initiative driven by canned tuna market players who recognise that retailers, producers and fleets must work together to quickly adopt better fishing practices and management to restore balance and safeguard resources for future generations.

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 over-exploited or at limits of over-exploitation, due mainly to inadequate and opaque management of tuna fisheries, giving free rein to illegal and uncontrolled fishing practices that are putting pressure on this delicate ecosystem.

The Tuna Protection Alliance (TUPA) is an initiative driven by canned tuna market players who recognise that retailers, producers and fleets must work together to quickly adopt better fishing practices and management to restore balance and safeguard resources for future generations.

The Tuna Protection Alliance (TUPA) is a precompetitive initiative driven by canned tuna market players who recognise that retailers, producers and fleets must work together to quickly adopt better fishing practices and management to restore balance and safeguard resources for future generations.

Launched in September 2018, TUPA focuses on skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellowfin (Tunnus albacares), bigeye (Thunnus obesus) and albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga), which account for the majority of tuna stocks. The members share the same commitment and also work to build cohesion with all stakeholders in the sector.

TUPA members are joined by Earthworm France as coordinator, and a number of organisations who contribute with their valuable expertise of the tuna industry. 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. TUPA’s observers currently are Orthongel (French organisation of frozen tuna producers), the FIAC (Federation of Preserved Food Industries), the MSC France (Marine Stewardship Council), the IPNLF (International Pole & Line Foundation) and the GTA (Global Tuna Alliance).

TUPA has three main objectives:

Preserve the resource

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Fight illegal fishing

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Respect workers' rights

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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 coordinators 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.

2021 TUPA action plan

TUPA 2022 action plan

Transparency

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Monitoring

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Advocacy

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Technical

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Faits

In 2019, 91% of members’ supplies came from purse seine fishing, of which 60% was under FADs (Fishing Aggregating Devices) and 40% under free tuna swimming schools. The remaining 9% mainly came from pole and line fishing.
Skipjack tuna was the most represented specie (by 64%), followed by Yellowfin tuna (by 34%). The main fishing areas TUPA members are sourcing from are the Eastern Atlantic Ocean (52%) and the Indian Ocean (24%).
Almost 90% of supplies were traced back to ships, while 11% of the vessels’ identity declared by suppliers could not be proved. 700+ vessels were supplying TUPA members altogether.

Manifesto

Before entering the Tuna Protection Alliance, all companies must sign the charter and 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 responsible tuna for sale.

Click here to view the Tuna Protection Alliance Manifesto
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Further information

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

You can also call us at +33 3 20 31 63 39 or join us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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