SFP defines the sector comprising yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) and bigeye (Thunnus obesus) as fresh and frozen (FF) tuna when captured by the following gear methods as per tuna RFMO catch datasets:
- longline (LL)
- coastal longline (LLCO)
- longline targeting swordfish (ELL)
- longline fresh (FLL)
Yellowfin and bigeye tuna from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Oman captured with handlines (HL)
- Yellowfin captured with rod and reel (RR) in India and the Maldives
- Albacore and skipjack captured with fresh longline (FLL)
- Albacore from longline targeting swordfish (ELL) as fresh and frozen tuna
SFP has not included bluefin tunas in this sector because SFP recognizes that interventions to improve bluefin tuna fisheries require a different approach, given considerably smaller volumes in very specialist markets that may be out of reach.
Total global production of fresh and frozen tuna is approximately 478,000 tonnes (based on RFMO catch reports from 2014). Top producers are Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and China.
Japan is the dominant end-market (importing 20 percent of internationally traded fresh/frozen yellowfin and bigeye. Within Europe, Spain and Italy are the major importers. The US is perhaps the market with the most advanced sustainability commitments, but imports just 3 percent of internationally traded fresh/frozen yellowfin and bigeye tuna.
The T75 sector report for Fresh and Frozen Tuna details the state of the sector. Based on 2014 data, 73,000 tonnes, or 15 percent of global production, are considered to be from sustainable or improving fisheries, using publicly available information on MSC status and FIP progress ratings reviewed in early October 2017.
The Global Fresh and Frozen Tuna Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) serves as a forum for companies that are involved in the supply of fresh or frozen yellowfin and bigeye tuna and wish to actively support improvements at fleet, national or regional level, incl. changes in policy (e.g., the introduction of harvest control rules).
This roundtable also acts as an umbrella for another SR dedicated to fresh and frozen line-caught tuna, but also other Large Pelagic species: the Eastern Pacific Ocean Large Pelagics SR. This SRs continues to function independently but is closely coordinated with the global roundtable.
SFP is recommending that the T75 strategy focus on starting or implementing national-level FIPs (i.e. exporters collaborating to engage all the local fisheries management units) in the fisheries targeted by the longline fleets of primary production countries: Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and China, but also Sri Lanka. New supply chain engagement in Japan will be required to close the gap to T75 by supporting or starting such national fleet FIPs.
SFP has also created procurement specifications for fresh/frozen tuna incl. Best Practice guidance addressing bycatch of longline tuna fisheries (Japanese version) (Spanish version) and encourages companies to adopt these policies as a demonstration of commitment to responsible sourcing.