Sri Lanka Tuna
Fishery Improvement Project

Last Update: December 2013

 

Species: yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares); bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)

FIP Scope/Scale: Fishery and stock level
 
Fishery Location: Sri Lanka EEZ, Indian Ocean 
 
For map see:
Stock
Stock link
Yellowfin tuna – Indian Ocean
Bigeye tuna – Indian Ocean
 
 
Stock
Jurisdiction
Fishery Link
Yellowfin tuna – Indian Ocean
Sri Lanka & IOTC
Bigeye tuna – Indian Ocean
Sri Lanka & IOTC
 
FIP Contact:  if you would like more information about the FIP or wish to support the FIP, please contact SFP.
 
FIP Participants:
Sustainability Information:
See Summary page in the above links
 
Date Publicly Announced: 2011

FIP Stage: 4, FIP is delivering improvement in policies or practices

Current Improvement Recommendations:
  • Support setting a Harvest Control Rule for each species
  • Promote improvements in catch reporting, including bycatch data
  • Monitor and reduce IUU
  • Encourage bycatch mitigation measures, such as gear modifications and change in fishing operations (time, depth, area, bait type)
Background:
 
In 2009, SFP commenced a strategic FIP in the Indian Ocean to support fishery-level improvements in the longline tuna fisheries of Sri Lanka. This engagement arose from a roundtable of key United Kingdom (UK) tuna buyers and their suppliers convened by SFP in Brussels in April 2010.
 
The Indian Ocean longline tuna fishery presents several challenges:
  • Bigeye and yellowfin tuna biomass trajectories indicate that the spawning stock biomass is currently slightly above the MSY level, but it has been declining since the 1980s.
     
  • Similarly, the current fishing mortality exerted in bigeye tuna is estimated be to just below the MSY level, but has been increasing steadily since the 1980s. In yellowfin, fishing mortality is at present at MSY level but was exceeded for the previous 4 years.
     
  • Catch reporting is still weak in some RFMO member countries and IUU continues to be a major issue.
     
  • Bycatch of many species is a concern, particularly of pelagic sharks, which in several cases are of conservation concern as they are listed by IUCN as “vulnerable” or “endangered.” 
SFP did the exploratory work to examine deficiencies in the fishery with the host country and producers through spring 2010, after which it operationalized the FIP workplan needed to start the improvement work. This is the first of many FIPs on the same stocks of yellowfin and bigeye tuna in the Indian Ocean region that together will yield stock-level improvements with a common set of expectations and rules for fisheries and markets alike.
 
The United Kingdom (UK) preferentially consumes three species of fish: cod, salmon, and tuna. Historically, around 80 percent of the fresh tuna exported from Sri Lanka was consumed in the UK. However, in 2011 this percentage declined to approximately 25 percent, and the market in other European countries increased. Therefore, while there is still a mutual interest among UK retailers and fresh tuna importers in the sustainability of the tuna fisheries, the FIP is looking to extend its participation to other companies in continental Europe.

FIP Objectives:
  • Support setting a Harvest Control Rule for each species
     
  • Promote improvements in catch reporting, including bycatch data
     
  • Monitor and reduce IUU
     
  • Encourage bycatch mitigation measures, such as gear modifications and change in fishing operations (time, depth, area, bait type).

Progress Update: 

2009
  • Indian Ocean yellowfin & bigeye tuna - FishSource profiles live
 
2010
  • Roundtable of key UK tuna buyers
     
  • Meeting between Sri Lanka Fisheries Minister & FIP participants
 
2011
  • FIP met with National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) and Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) in Sri Lanka
     
  • FIP agreement signed, formal launch of the project
     
  • IOTC meeting held in Sri Lanka           
 
2012
January – March:
  • FIP met with NARA and DFAR In Sri Lanka
     
  • Fishing logbooks implemented by Sri Lanka Authorities 
April – June:
  • FIP met with Minister Commercial & Economic Affairs in Belgium
     
  • Sri Lanka engaged in IOTC & TAC negotiations
     
  • Sri Lanka government “working cell” established to improve data collection
     
  • IOTC recommendation of interim target and limit reference points for the major IOTC species
July – September:
  • FIP Summary workplan agreed and available online
     
  • FIP Detailed workplan agreed and available online

October – December:

  • FIP local coordinator hired
     
  • EC warned Sri Lanka in risk of being a non-cooperative country in the fight against IUU
     
  • FIP met with NARA and DFAR in Sri Lanka

2013 

January - March

  • FIP letter to IOTC advocating HCR
     
  • FIP/DFAR logbook training workshop in Sri Lanka
     
  • FIP met with NARA and DFAR in Sri Lanka

April - June

  • IOTC adoption of interim target and limit reference points for the major IOTC species

  • Observers Programme proposal submitted to the Sri Lanka Seafood Exporters Association (SEA)
     
  • FIP local coordinator contract extended
     
  • Commitment ensured from SEA companies to support logbook training sessions in July, August, and September
     
  • EU Commissioner Damanaki speech recognizing Sri Lankan credible progress in moving to an effective fisheries control system. 

July – September
  • DFAR logbook training workshops (two) in July (Dondra, Sri Lanka)
     
  • FIP logbook training workshops in July (Dondra, Sri Lanka) and September (Negombo, Sri Lanka) with the support of JC Foods and Tropic, respectively.
     
  • Open dialogue established between FIP and IOTC Secretariat on FIP workplan and progress.
     
  • FIP Observers Programme proposal submitted to NARA
     
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between FIP and NARA signed by SEA and submitted to NARA
     
  • FIP local coordinator and SEA representative met with NARA several times to discuss MOU and Observers Programme proposal.

October - September

  • NARA draft plan for pilot observer program
     
  • Launch of SLSEA website – SLSEA officially launched the association website with the presence of the minister of fisheries. The website references the tuna and the BSC crab FIPs

  • Sri Lanka field visit scheduled for end of January 2014.
     
 
Click here for a more comprehensive description of FIP results