This International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) issue brief outlines the important social benefits associated with one-by-one tuna fisheries that IPNLF is working to develop internationally, the current challenges the one-by-one tuna fishing industry faces, and the work IPNLF does to mitigate the issues and support the fisheries.
SOCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF ONE-BY-ONE TUNA FISHERIES
About 4.5 million tonnes of the key commercial tuna species (skipjack, yellowfin, albacore, bigeye and bluefin) are caught globally each year. Of this catch, small-scale pole-and-line, hand-line and troll (grouped under “one-by-one”) tuna fisheries represent about 10%, or currently 475,000 tonnes.
Unlike industrial tuna fisheries, one-by-one fisheries involve large numbers of small fishing vessels and employ many more people. For instance, a pole-and-line vessel employs between eight and nine times more labour per unit of tuna caught than a purse-seine vessel.
Many fishers associated with one-by-one fisheries are self-employed and catch fish, both for direct consumption within their households or communities and also for national and international markets. Women are significant participants in the sector, particularly in post-harvest and processing activities.
One-by-one tuna fisheries provide:
- Local jobs for local people
- Livelihoods and community wellbeing
- A source of nutrition for coastal communities
As these are centuries old fishing practices, they are firmly rooted in local communities, traditions and values, reflecting often-historic links to fishery resources and community identity.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
Despite their importance, many small-scale fishing communities continue to be marginalised, and their contribution to local and national economies, food security, nutrition, sustainable development and sustainable resource use are not fully realised.
One-by-one tuna fisheries face challenges associated with:
- Unequal power relations in global markets
- Conflicts with large-scale fishing operations over access to fisheries resources
- Non-participatory and often centralised fisheries management systems that deprive fishing communities of management control over their fishery resources
- Increasing technological demands on fishing fleets
- Vulnerability to multiple drivers of change, notably migration out of fishing communities, market dynamics and climate change (e.g. rising sea levels, increasingly frequent and severe weather conditions)
Insufficient resources and infrastructure to capitalise on high global market demand for sustainably and equitably caught one-by-one tuna
WHAT IS IPNLF DOING TO IMPROVE THINGS?
IPNLF works to develop and demonstrate the value of one-by-one caught tuna in order to improve the wellbeing of coastal fisheries, and the people and seas connected with them. Recognising challenges faced by one-by-one tuna fisheries, IPNLF is working to enhance the following:
1 - RAISING THE PROFILE
Momentum is growing in international fora acknowledging the social dimension of seafood production and the importance of small-scale fisheries. However, for the most part these fishers receive less recognition in international markets and policy-making. IPNLF acts as a voice and champion for the one-by-one sector to help 'tell-and-sell' the story of the people and places behind the product to influence and advance global tuna sustainability. Our social research programmes support evidence-based advocacy for political and market recognition of the contribution of one-by-one fisheries to the communities and regions where they are located.
2 - INCREASED MARKET SHARE
Market demand for this type of tuna is vital in key consuming countries (e.g. the US and in Europe). IPNLF works with both private and public sector stakeholders to build capacity for responding to changing trends within global markets. Such trends include the increased awareness around traceability as well as expectations that seafood products comply with certain environmental and social standards. Meeting such standards are vital to ensure that one-by-one tuna fisheries maintain access to global markets.
3 - TRACEABILITY
Robust traceability systems add value and reputational credibility to one-by-one fisheries and are an important component of globally traded tuna. IPNLF is assisting creating traceable, transparent and validated one-by-one tuna supply chains that supports regional tuna management efforts to increase the data collected from near-shore, artisanal and small-scale tuna vessels.
4 - LABOUR STANDARDS
Globally, increased attention is being drawn to labour standards in commercial fisheries. IPNLF is working with one-by-one fishers to ensure vessels hold a culture of integrity and respect with decent working conditions. One approach we are taking to this is through the implementation of programmes such as the Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) and its Vessel Improver Programme (VIP), and the Fair Trade US certification and labelling scheme in US, Indonesia and Maldives.
5. BUILDING HUMAN CAPACITY
Faced with factors such as increased technological advances and high market standards, small-scale fisheries are often in need of capacity strengthening. In Maldives and Indonesia, IPNLF supports education programmes that bridge the evolution and information gap between the market and the catching sector. Through training on improved handling of baitfish and cold-chain management, fishers are able to reduce unnecessary wastage throughout the supply chain and increase returns back to the fishers through improvements in product quality.
6 - COMMUNICATING RESULTS
IPNLF employs a variety of platforms to promote ongoing research, technical reports, and the good work of our members. IPNLF uses traditional and social media tools to spread news on the latest developments to a global audience.
IPNLF SOCIO-ECONOMIC RESOURCES
Technical reports: Hohne-Sparborth et al (2015)
Webpage: Social Spotlight
Film: Women at the Waterfront
This document should be cited as: IPNLF, 2016, Social Responsibility, IPNLF Issue Brief