Social responsibility and tuna traceability brought to the fore at United Nations Ocean Conference

Learn about the latest social responsibility and traceability commitments by IPNLF and its Member network.

On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Of critical importance to IPNLF and the coastal communities that we support is Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

To turn this SDG into action, the United Nations convened its first ever Ocean Conference 5-9 June in New York City, coinciding with World Oceans Day. IPNLF and our Members rallied support on two seafood pledges to demonstrate commitment to social responsibility and traceability in the seafood supply chain.  

Social Responsibility in Global Fisheries and Aquaculture

The social attributes associated with one-by-one fisheries are what makes them unique amongst industrial tuna fishing practises. Not only are these fisheries environmentally responsible, they support the wellbeing of coastal communities and the businesses connected with them. Through this initiative, IPNLF and its Members - ANOVA Food, American Tuna, American Albacore Fishing Association, AP2HI, Migros, New England Seafood International, World Wise Foods – commit to adopt effective policy and regulation to protect vulnerable populations, establish best practice among businesses and incorporate social responsibility into existing fisheries initiatives, thus strengthening the support for improved wellbeing for seafood producers.

To drive this initiative, a coalition of partners developed the comprehensive framework for social responsibility. Published in Science, the framework draws from a wide range of policy and practice, and is supported by a strong basis in international law and policy.

Jack Kittinger, lead author of the social responsibility framework and Senior Director at Conservation International comments “The purpose of this framework is to ensure that governments, businesses, and non-profits are working together to improve human rights, equality and food and livelihood security. This is a holistic and comprehensive approach that establishes a global standard to address these social challenges. By supporting this initiative, IPNLF and its Members are demonstrating their commitment to social responsibility in the seafood sector, something which is inextricably linked to environmental sustainability.”

Sandra Hinni, Fisheries Sustainability Specialist at Migros says, “We recognise that the need to support positive social outcomes in our fisheries supply chains as well as address the environmental issues is paramount. We welcome the opportunity to join with other sustainability leaders to drive the industry forward to achieving holistic sustainability in fisheries.”

Tuna Declaration 2020

Supply chain stakeholders were also provided with the opportunity to support the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration, an agreement that is intended to encourage actions and partnerships from and between tuna harvesters, processors, retailers, traders and related non-profits and concerned governments, to improve the health of tuna populations worldwide. The initiative, which is being promoted by the non-profit World Economic Forum, is in response to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources. IPNLF and its Members American Tuna, American Albacore Fishing Association, AP2HI, Frinsa del Noroeste, New England Seafood International, and World Wise Foods supported this initiative.

Natalie Webster, Director of Operations at American Albacore Fisheries Association and Co-Founder of American Tuna comments, “For years, American Tuna has promoted fully-traceable, socially and environmentally responsible tuna fisheries, and it is encouraging to see broader industry support for these concepts. Sustainable fisheries don’t exist without fishermen. We need to treat them well, and ensure the tools are in place to verify the origin of their products.” Webster continues, “These two initiatives – on traceability and social responsibility – address key elements that will take the seafood industry to the next level and ensure our most important assets – our fishermen – get the respect they deserve.”