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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 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 near over-exploitation, mainly due to inadequate and opaque management of tuna fisheries, giving free rein to illegal, undeclared and unregulated fishing practices that are putting pressure on this sensitive ecosystem.

TUPA is a precompetitive initiative driven by canned tuna market players working together to 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.

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

Earthworm France joins TUPA members as coordinators and a number of organisations who contribute their valuable expertise to the tuna industry. Contributors currently are WWF France, the MSC France (Marine Stewardship Council), 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). They provide a critical view of the group's orientations and actions. Therefore, these organisations can advise, suggest, and challenge the group's strategy.

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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Since its launch in September 2018, the Tuna Protection Alliance's ambition has been organised around three major axes:

  • Development of transparency and monitoring tools
  • Education of TUPA members on specific tuna sector topics
  • Advocacy, with one voice, to the stakeholders in the sector

TUPA notably voices its vision of the sector and appeals towards tuna-managing organisations on its LinkedIn account.

TUPA 2023 Action Plan


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In 2021, 92% of members’ supplies came from purse seine fishing, of which 62% was under FADs (Fishing Aggregating Devices) and 30% under free tuna swimming schools. The remaining 7% mainly came from pole and line fishing.
Skipjack tuna was the most represented specie (by 55%), followed by Yellowfin tuna (by 44%). The main fishing areas TUPA members are sourcing from are the Eastern Atlantic Ocean (33%) and the Indian Ocean (25%).
Almost 90% of supplies were traced back to ships, while 7% of the vessels’ identity declared by suppliers could not be proved. About 570 vessels were supplying TUPA members altogether.


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

Further information

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

Florie Loth
Clara Gitto
Jeanne Delor

You can also call us at +333 2031 6339 or join us on LinkedIn.

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