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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.

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.


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

OceanMind, a UK-based non-profit, was chosen to support the Tuna Protection Alliance on specific monitoring issues. Using satellites and artificial intelligence, OceanMind is helping to ensure supply chains are free of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fish. It conducted a multi-level analysis: verifying the identity of vessels and their activity at sea; particularly by studying their trajectory, thanks to the automated identification system (AIS) signals. The following indicators were monitored for compliance.

  • Declared gear type
  • Fishing activity in the declared regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO)
  • Fishing activity within marine-protected areas
  • Fishing activity with management measures implemented by RFMOs

Activity in 2019

This year, three major actions are being undertaken:

Continuing our work with OceanMind.
Exploring and using innovative monitoring tools to ensure the robust traceability and integrity of product claims related to purse seine FAD-free and Pole & Line catch methods.
Delivering concrete recommendations for a responsible tuna that minimises the impacts of each fishing technique (Purse Seine fishing -both FADs and Free School sets-; Pole & Line); as well as guidance to several FIP projects and MSC fisheries related to the group’s supplies; - Advocacy actions to relevant RFMOs.


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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