Tuna stocks are today in reasonable good health. For the tuna species in either yellow or red, there is no solution. Industrial fishing (purse seine and longliner) are responsible for the massive increase in catches. There are no success stories when it comes to sustainable tuna fishing, except finally for the Bluefin Tuna in the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean.
the future of the tuna stocks are guaranteed to survive in a healthy state.
the sea life remains balanced (by-catch).
minimal impact on the environment (fishing gear, incl. FAD’s and net biodegradable).
the crew of the vessels do have a safe working environment and also have a reasonable minimum standard of living.
that the local fishermen do have the ability to make a living out of their activity for their families.
management of the stocks.
collecting real-time data from the tuna fleet.
limiting fishing effort (capacity and gear).
more comprehensive studies about tuna behaviour.
technical solutions for discriminating tuna on specie and size.
control on tuna fishing activities.
more involvement of the stakeholders (canners put your money where the mouth is).
Intro tekst fishing equipment
management of tuna stocks
Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMO) are responsible for the management of the tuna stocks, in total there are five RFMO’s;
– Western Central Pacific Fisheries Committee
– Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC)
– Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)
– Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT)
Collecting real-time catch data
Real-time catch data is necessary to establish to make the right management decisions for the tuna stocks. Each vessel is reporting a few times per week to their government, their catches (quantity per specie for each set). The exchange of this info takes place after the calendar year is closed (catch limits apply for single or multiple calendar years). It makes it impossible to prevent collectively that catch limits will be surpassed.
Only IATTC is reporting publicly the catches per month – with a six-week delay – on their website and in a separate section even weekly.
Real-time knowledge and transparency of tuna catches and landings must be improved. Why not apply the same rules on the whole tuna purse seine fleet in every RFMO?
limiting fishing effort
Over the last decade, the number of tuna purse seiners has increased, especially during the period 2011-2015.
The latter resulted from an announcement from ISSF that they would set a capacity limit on the Fish Hold Volume of tuna purse seiners > 335 m³. ISSF is keeping a register, and if a boat owner you’re not in, the stakeholders (only canners) are not allowed to buy your whole round tuna. The shipyards were shortly after the announcement fully booked for three years in a row. The tuna purse seiners became bigger and bigger. At the same time, the owners ordered support vessels, to make sure that the catching effort of the big tuna vessels would be very economical.
more comprehensive studies about the behaviour of tuna
In the last decennia, many studies, often isolated, have been performed on stock assessment, tagging programs on the behaviour of tuna. With changing environment, i.e. El Niño, La Niña, rising water temperatures, changing feeding areas, smaller tuna population on tuna, more extensive studies are required to fully understand the behaviour of tuna when specific parameters are changing.
With all this knowledge, it is easier to develop a strategy including, the prediction of tuna movement and make better projections on the development of the tuna stocks.
Combining studies in different oceans might end up in a collective approach for finding measures to safeguard all tuna stocks and associated species.
technical solutions for discriminating tuna by species and size
The tuna fishing vessels are all well equipped with electronic fish detection instruments. However, these instruments can not (yet) make a good estimate of the size and species (in case mixed) of the tuna detected.
It will be crucial to get to the point where the fishermen know upfront if there are non-targeted species – and to which extend – into his upcoming set.
Control on tuna fishing activities
Tuna fishing takes place over a vast area, but all have satellite coverage. It is technically simple to monitor the fishing activities from the tuna fleets in the oceans. In the Western and Central Pacific Ocean is a system in place, which is overseeing the days at sea and the operating area of the tuna purse seine fleet.
In none of the oceans is they’re any form of permanent fishing control at sea. Control is expensive, but there is a solution.
more involvement stakeholders
When it comes to applying restrictions, there are many (profit and non-profit) organisations more than willing to support new rules. The BIG question is, how can fishermen survive all these restrictions, with prices @ rock bottom level (which can only be compensated by catching more).