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Greenpeace Launches Initiative For Markets To “Pre-order” Sustainable Skipjack Tuna

Greenpeace has launched guidelines and an on-line pre-order petition at the 2nd European Tuna Conference in Brussels calling on retailers, restaurants and tuna traders to pre-order and shift their supplies to sustainable and equitable skipjack tuna. 
Many stocks of tuna species are dangerously in decline. Even fisheries not yet fully exploited are using fishing methods that negatively impact juvenile tuna and other vulnerable species such as sharks and turtles, leaving the marine environment in peril.

Skipjack tuna is often harvested by purse seine fleets operated by companies from industrial fishing nations from the North, leaving very little of the social and economic benefits in the hands of coastal states (1). However, many coastal states, such as the Pacific Island countries, are in a prime position to develop a sustainable pole and line skipjack industry. Pole and line fishing is a method well-suited to local use, providing income and livelihoods to coastal communities and therefore providing a more equitable product (2).

“Pole and line fishing has the potential to be a selective and most environmentally-sound method of fishing skipjack,” said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. “If conducted properly, it can have very low bycatch levels and also ensure a much higher quality of fish, as every fish caught is brought on board alive.”
There is currently little choice available for sustainable and equitable supplies of the world’s favourite fish on the supermarket shelves. Greenpeace has launched a “pre-order petition” to encourage retailers, restaurants and other tuna traders to actively seek coastal state partners willing to develop pole and line operations and assist in ensuring market access and capacity-building on the ground.

“Demonstrating the market demand of better products will be key to encouraging and empowering tuna-rich nations to develop sustainable and equitable pole and line skipjack industry and limit the access of foreign industrial fleets to their waters,” said Tolvanen. “With skipjack accounting for over half of the world’s tuna catches, retailers should support sustainable and equitable options through a transition towards local pole and line tuna fisheries (3)”.