Update from SENA17 – expanding market engagement with one-by-one tuna fisheries

Adam Baske reports back on IPNLF’s highlights from the Seafood Expo North America
Adam Baske, Director Policy & Outreach at SENA

Each year, IPNLF makes the pilgrimage to Boston for the Seafood Expo North America (SENA), which took place this year on the 19th – 21st of March. As an organisation working with Members, partners and staff spread across the globe, such a convening provides a perfect chance for some much needed face-to-face time! Dr Ingrid Kelling and myself embraced this opportunity and joined thousands of buyers and suppliers to talk tuna. 

Member engagement

If you’ve been to a seafood show you’ll know how hectic the floor can be. Fortunately, we were able to take time-out with our Members (SubwayMaldives Quality SeafoodAnovaAAFAMIFCOEnsisBlue CircleSoutheastern Grocers) and partners (Fish ChoiceFair TradeSeafood WatchMDPIUSAID and Marine Stewardship Council) to catch up on upcoming priorities and collaborations. Alongside our one-on-one meetings, we gathered key stakeholders together for IPNLF’s first North American networking event, attended by AP2HI companies, Members, Indonesian government officials, funders, and NGO partners to discuss recent developments in Indonesia’s coastal tuna fisheries and the pole-and-line and handline fishery improvement project, as well as opportunities to strengthen engagement in this project.

Whole Foods Commitment to one-by-one tuna

Supporting our expanding engagement with North American markets, I joined a panel session with Whole Foods to announce their new tuna sourcing policy. This new policy is to source 100% one-by-one caught tuna for their shelf stable products (cans) as well as prepared foods sections by January 2018. This is by far the most ambitious commitment in the North American retail space; we are thrilled to be working with Whole Foods to help them make this happen and hopeful that other retailers will follow their lead. 

Breakfast of Champions

SeaWeb, the programme that commends individuals and organisations for excellence in promoting environmentally responsible seafood, hosted the ‘Breakfast of Champions’ to announce the finalists for the 2017 Seafood Champion Award. IPNLF is thrilled to be one of this year’s finalists, recognised for outstanding efforts to improve management of Indian Ocean skipjack tuna fisheries. We are officially a finalist for the Award for Advocacy, along with a number of other inspirational organisations and individuals. 

I was encouraged by the growth of North America’s market interest in one-by-one tuna fisheries - with serious seafood stakeholders choosing to invest in and source from these responsible fisheries, both supporting the coastal communities and protecting the connected environment. IPNLF will continue to work with our Members, partners and fishery stakeholders to further strengthen the market landscape for one-by-one fishers and we look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.