23 March 2021: A new global commitment aiming to clean up global tuna fisheries, the 2025 Pledge towards Sustainable Tuna (25PST,) begins sign-on today. It is convened by the Global Tuna Alliance, Friends of Ocean Action and the World Economic Forum and is inviting responsible businesses throughout the tuna supply chain, as well as governments and civil society organizations committed to sustainable tuna, to sign up.
Signatories to the 25PST commit to working towards a global tuna sector that meets the highest standards of environmental performance and social responsibility, through demonstrable improvements in supply chain practices and fisheries management.
Tuna is one of the most popular seafoods across the world, from sushi to niçoise salad. It also plays a vital role in the balance of ocean life and is a critical part of marine ecosystems, and a critical source of livelihoods for many. In the Asia-Pacific region alone, the tuna industry directly employs more than 6 million people. But several tuna populations are being overfished, and management decisions are too often based on short-term financial objectives. Tuna fisheries can result in incidentally caught bycatch species including seabirds, sea turtles, marine mammals, sharks and rays.
Some tuna fisheries are also blighted by accusations of human rights abuses. Most tuna fishing takes place on the high seas, beyond the reach of enforcement agencies. Crew members can in some cases have limited or no safe access to communication methods, effective grievance mechanisms or access to remedy. International migrant labour on tuna fishing vessels may be particularly isolated – not only physically at sea but also by language and culture – leaving them exposed to risk of abuse.
Tackling these challenges is made more difficult as tuna is one of the most heavily traded food commodities around the globe, often passing through many stages from catch to consumption. Long and complex supply chains can make it difficult for product information to be recorded accurately and consistently, and shared throughout each step in the chain. Commitment and collaboration across geographies and sectors are needed to improve the tuna supply chain.
“I strongly welcome the 2025 Pledge towards Sustainable Tuna and the clear commitment of leaders from a range of sectors to take better care of tuna fisheries globally. Improving fisheries management is a key focus of the Sustainable Development Goal for the ocean, SDG14, to conserve and sustainably use the ocean’s resources. We have to work together to ensure tuna fisheries are environmentally and socially responsible, from bait to plate, and I urge seafood businesses, governments and civil society organizations to join this important pledge,” said Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean and Co-Chair of Friends of Ocean Action.
The 25PST replaces the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration, a voluntary statement that emerged from a dialogue among governments, businesses and civil society organizations convened by the World Economic Forum. Spurred by the UN Ocean Conference in 2017, the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration was endorsed by 67 leaders of the world’s retailers, tuna processors, marketers, traders and harvesters, with the support of 21 influential civil society organizations and six governments. The progress report published by the Global Tuna Alliance highlighted key achievements by the signatories on its completion, and 25PST will further build on this momentum.
All Global Tuna Alliance partners have signed onto the 2025 Pledge towards Sustainable Tuna.
“Partner companies of the Global Tuna Alliance have already shown serious commitment to a responsible tuna supply chain through improvements in their own operations and advocacy at Regional Fisheries Management Organizations. Our shared vision of tuna meeting the highest standards of environmental performance and social responsibility will be boosted by the 2025 Pledge towards Sustainable Tuna and I strongly encourage other business, government and civil society leaders to sign up and join the movement towards much greater sustainability,” said Dr Tom Pickerell, Executive Director of the Global Tuna Alliance.
While progress has been made in recent years, there remains much to do to improve tuna supply chains to ensure they are environmentally and socially sustainable, while being transparent and traceable. The 25PST will play a crucial role in continuing to bring about improvements, and has been registered as a voluntary commitment for implementation of the UN SDGs on the UN Ocean Conference website. The Global Tuna Alliance will monitor progress of the signatories to the 25PST annually and report to the UN annually.
- Gemma Parkes, Communications Lead, Friends of Ocean Action at the World Economic Forum, on email@example.com or +41 (0)79 305 29 77
Notes to editors
- Read more here about the 25PST
- To sign up to the 25PST, get in touch with Tom Pickerell on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Learn more here about Global Tuna Alliance and follow on Twitter here
- Learn more here about Friends of Ocean Action and follow on Twitter here
- By signing-on to the 25PST, signatories are pledging to making demonstrable progress on three key commitments:
- 25PST commitment 1: transparency and traceability
- Transparency, or an understanding of activity and practices that occur throughout the supply chain and communicating this information, is critical to ensure legal, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible supply chains. Traceability, being able to trace where and how fish are caught, and by whom, is essential to ensure compliance with rules and sustainable management.
- 25PST signatories pledge to continually improve the traceability systems in our tuna supply chains to enable greater transparency, and to advocate for improved transparency in tuna fisheries.
- 25PST commitment 2: environmental sustainability
- Environmental sustainability of fisheries is critical to ensuring fishing is at a level that can, based on current scientific knowledge, continue indefinitely while fish populations remain productive and healthy. To keep the ecosystem healthy, it is also important that fishing activity minimizes negative impacts on other species and habitats.
- 25PST signatories pledge to source from fisheries that meet the goals of environmental sustainability as outlined above, or are working towards them in a structured, time-bound process; and to advocate for comprehensive harvest strategies in tuna fisheries.
- 25PST commitment 3: social responsibility
- Signatories uphold fundamental human rights as outlined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and recognize there are human rights risks in tuna supply chains. Signatories recognize both the role of businesses to respect human rights as outlined in the UN Guiding Principles, and the importance of Governments protecting human rights.
- 25PST signatories pledge to complete effective due diligence regarding human rights risks in their tuna supply chains and advocate for implementation of international legislation to safeguard these rights.