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).
Additionally, the following species/gear method combinations are considered as producing FF tuna:
- Yellowfin and bigeye tuna from Indonesia, Oman, the Philippines, and Vietnam 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).
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.
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.
Please find an overview of production considered in our T75 strategy for the sector here.
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 levels, including changes in policy (e.g., the introduction of harvest control rules). An increasing focus of the SR is the mitigation of bycatch, including of endangered, threatened, and protected (ETP) species such as sharks, rays, dolphins, sea turtles, sea birds, etc., in longline fisheries.
The previously named Eastern Pacific Ocean Large Pelagics SR is now the Global Mahi SR in the large pelagics section.
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, including China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, as well as 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 and frozen tuna, including best practice guidance addressing bycatch of longline tuna fisheries (Japanese version) (Spanish version) (Bahasa - Indonesian version), and encourages companies to adopt these policies as a demonstration of commitment to responsible sourcing.
Total global production of fresh and frozen tuna is approximately 478,000 tonnes (based on RFMO catch reports from 2014). The top producers are Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and China.
Japan is the dominant end-market (importing 20 percent of internationally traded fresh and 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 its imports total just three percent of internationally traded fresh and frozen yellowfin and bigeye tuna.