IPNLF launch new Technical Report

IPNLF launch a new technical report, Pole-and-Line Tuna Fishing in the World: Status and Trends

IPNLF envisions a future where coastal fisheries, and the communities and seas that they are part of, can thrive.

In contributing to this vision we, with support from our Member organisations and external partners and funders, work with one-by-one tuna fisheries internationally (e.g. pole-and-line, handline and troll) to help develop and support these fisheries; for example, advancing best practice and management to improve their long-term viability and sustainability.

In progressing such work, we are keen to increase our collective understanding of what the existing situation is with one-by-one tuna fisheries internationally, and answering many important questions along the way, including: 

  • Where is fishing occurring?
  • What species are fishers catching?
  • When is the peak season in each fishery?
  • How is the tuna being caught and what bait is being used?
  • Who comprises the labour force?
  • Who benefits financially from the fisheries resources?
  • Where are the supply chain linkages and markets?
  • What factors are currently limiting value?

The fuller the picture we have around the diversity of one-by-one tuna fisheries internationally, the more efficiently we hope to be able to engage with fishery and supply chain partners to bring about improvements in sustainability, quality and efficacy – thereby adding value to these fisheries and the communities reliant upon them. 

The latest Technical Report from IPNLF, authored by Bob Gillett (IPNLF Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee member, with more than 30 years fisheries and marine resource sector work experience), brings us another step closer to collating such information. The report, Pole-and-Line Fishing in the World: Status and Trends gives an overview of the catch trends in 22 key pole-and-line fisheries globally – updating a similar study published in 2012.

(NOTE: In this instance, this Technical Report deals explicitly with pole-and-line geared fisheries and does NOT include other one-by-one gears within IPNLF's remit, such as handline or troll). 

The new report analyses the current status of those 22 significant pole-and-line tuna fisheries using regional fisheries management organisation statistics, published reports, discussions with national tuna specialists, and informal documentation. Examining each fishery individually, the report finds that most of the world’s pole-and-line tuna is caught in Japan, Indonesia and Maldives, but that there are notable contributions from countries like Brazil and Senegal, with these fisheries showing stable and, in the case of Senegal, increased production. The report concludes, however, that many of the world’s pole-and-line fisheries have been in a state of decline for numerous years.

Reviewing the findings of this report shows a notable disconnect; we see that the majority of pole-and-line fisheries are in decline, reducing supply of pole-and-line tuna in the marketplace, while at the same time numerous international import markets (e.g. UK, Australia, USA) are showing increased demand for fish caught in this way. 

Moving forward, in order to bridge this disconnect, we need to delve deeper to understand the different local and regional drivers behind declines in pole-and-line tuna production (environmental, social, political and financial), and what mechanisms the international community can use to address them. 

Given the social and economic benefits these fisheries bring through the provision of local jobs for local people, nutrition, and wellbeing it is imperative that the international community supports them. 

IPNLF will continue to progress the collation and analysis of core fisheries information to inform our work, including mapping one-by-one fisheries according to their gear and key characteristics. Those who work closely with any such fisheries internationally are invited to contact us at to help compile this global picture. 

You can view the report here.