The Global Mahi Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) was formed in 2019, as an expansion of the previous Eastern Pacific Ocean Large Pelagics Fisheries SR.  

Mahi-mahi, also known as dolphinfish, is a migratory pelagic species that is highly resilient to fishing, due to its rapid growth and early maturation. However, despite this high productivity, many regions of the world have reached their maximum levels of capture and are beginning to see decreases in levels of production. Mahi-mahi is found in tropic and subtropic waters worldwide. Although it is highly desired by sport fishers, most of the production comes from artisanal fisheries, which represent an important source of income for fishers, but also present specific challenges related to sustainable management. Most mahi-mahi fisheries face issues with stock structure, monitoring, control, and surveillance, as well as proper data recording and reporting. Other issues include a lack of management measures at national and regional levels, low observer coverage, and interactions with sea turtles and sharks.  

The Global Mahi SR will focus mainly on mahi-mahi fisheries, but will also monitor other large pelagic FIPs in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

As described in the mahi-mahi T75 report, 59 percent of global mahi volumes are currently considered sustainable or improving. An additional 15 percent of global production could achieve the sustainable or improving categories by 2020 via engagement through the existing Supply Chain Roundtable (SR). To achieve this goal, SR work would need to focus on the following actions:

  • Encouraging producers and key vendors to engage in existing FIPs, to ensure national coverage of improvement efforts in key countries (Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia, and Peru)
  • Requesting national delegates to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) to advocate for the adoption of improvements in science and management in mahi fisheries at the regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) level
  • Encouraging FIP implementers and key vendors in the IATTC region to coordinate efforts to enhance regional impact at the RFMO level
  • Providing support to new and current FIPs.

Current Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered: The SR focuses on global coverage of mahi-mahi fisheries and will monitor other large pelagic FIPs in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The scope of this SR includes promoting FIPs at a national level to ensure improvements in fishing policies and practices, advocating for improvements in regional policies to achieve sustainability goals, and engaging key national vendors on sustainability goals. 

The following FIPs are supported and monitored:

Costa Rica large pelagics – longline and green stick FIP
Ecuador Mahi-Mahi FIP (World Wildlife Fund)
Guatemala Pacific Mahi-Mahi FIP (CeDePesca - inactive)
Panama Pacific Mahi-Mahi and Yellowfin Tuna FIP (inactive)
Peru Mahi-Mahi FIP (Confremar - inactive)
Peru Mahi-Mahi FIP (World Wildlife Fund)
Taiwan Hsin-Kang Mahi - Mahi - Longline FIP

The SR prioritizes the following fisheries for the initiation of FIPs:

Ecuador pole and line tuna
Ecuador longline swordfish

An overview of the mahi-mahi fisheries covered by the SR can be found here

We are seeking additional participants, particularly buyers of mahi-mahi in the North American market.

Please contact SFP for more information. 

Current Supply Chain Roundtable Participants:

Alfa Gamma
Beacon Fisheries
Beaver Street Fisheries
Chefs Trading
D&E Import LLC
Fortune International
Incredible Fish
Inland Seafood Corporation
Marpesca
Orca Bay Foods
Sea Delight
Stavis Seafoods
The Fishin' Company
Wild Fish Direct

For an overview of past progress, click here.

Improvement Needs and Recommendations:

1.     Formalizing unregulated fleets, to contribute to ending IUU fishing.

2.     Conducting conventional stock assessments and adopting biological reference points and harvest control rules for mahi-mahi and key bycatch species (e.g., sharks, billfish).

3.     Mandatory and standardized data collection and observers programs with a minimum coverage of 20 percent of the longline fishing operations, to document bycatch and discards of ETP species, including sharks, turtles, and other non-target species.

4.     Control of fishing mortality to maintain the stocks at or above MSY, or to recover the biomass to desired levels for any overexploited stocks.

5.     Industry-recognized adoption of changes to fishing practices to minimize the bycatch and mortality rates of ETP species, such as those outlined in this document (Best practices in tuna longline fisheries report).

6.     Encouraging producers and key vendors to engage in existing FIPs to ensure national coverage of improvement efforts in key countries (Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru) and encouraging FIP implementers to coordinate efforts to enhance regional impact at the IATTC level. 

Current Objectives and Action Recommendations for Suppliers:

1.     Communicate with national governments about the need for policy improvement. 

  • There is a lack of biological and fisheries data from mahi-mahi fisheries, due to deficiencies in data collection and data analysis.
  • The current requirement for onboard observer coverage for the longline fleet is five percent. This coverage is too low and lacks compliance.

2.     Communicate to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) about the need for improved management measures, including:

  • Analyze existing knowledge about the stock status of mahi-mahi in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and design and implement a research program aimed at addressing knowledge gaps about the stock(s) structure.
  • Include data from all countries in the next mahi stock assessment and incorporate environmental variables.
  • Formally adopt biological reference points and harvest control rules for mahi-mahi.
  • Increase longline observer coverage to a minimum of 20 percent.
  • Declare mahi to be a prioritized species and approve the Strategic Scientific Plan presented at the 9th Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee.
  • Maintain training activities for captains on the handling of bycatch species on board, to ensure they are returned to the sea alive.
  • Prioritize work to assess the effectiveness of adopted and alternative bycatch mitigation methods.
  • Analyze the impact of fish aggregating devices (FADs) on mahi stocks and the enforcement of the FAD decisions adopted by the IATTC. Also, review the existing FAD resolutions to see if they are adequate to prevent the depletion of the mahi-mahi stocks.

3.     Request that your suppliers implement the following improvements (as applicable) included in various documents published by SFP on procurement specifications and fishing best practices:

  • Put pressure on governments to take action on formalizing the unregulated fleet, in order to end IUU fishing.
  • Engage in existing ongoing FIPs.
  • Coordinate efforts to enhance regional impact at the RFMO level.
  • For mitigating bycatch in longline fisheries, adopt hook sizes and shapes designed for reducing the catch of turtles, or use only finfish for bait
  • Avoid the use of wire leaders and adopt longer leaders to reduce post-hooking mortality of turtles.
  • Set scaring lines for birds.
  • Strengthen current finning ban by requiring “fins naturally attached” policy to be formally adopted by IATTC.

Project Contact:

If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.

Quarterly Global Mahi SR Update – July to September 2019 

This briefing provides an update on progress, activities, and news in the areas of interest to the SR. It also indicates any actions and further support needed. A full summary of past progress, including details from past quarterly updates, can be found here.

1.     Improvements in Target 75 Priority Fisheries

Please find an overview of fisheries identified in the T75 Sector Report, including those currently not necessarily prioritized by the SR, here.

Costa Rica Longline YFT, Swordfish, and Mahi FIP:

Update: The FIP is published on FisheryProgress.com and in full implementation. An SR member has agreed to co-fund FIP activities. SFP has decided to provide support to the FIP with two consultancies: a) to evaluate and update the National Action Plan for sharks and b) to conduct a training program for captains and crew in manipulating and releasing ETP species, in order to trigger field activities and FIP implementation.

Further support needed: SR members can provide financial assistance to develop workshops for the consultants or to implement other activities from the work plan

Ecuador Pole and Line FIP:

Update: No further developments, since SR scope and priorities have changed .

No further support needed.

Ecuador Industrial Longline Swordfish FIP:

Update: No further developments. 

No further support needed.

2. Support to Established FIPs and Improvement Efforts

Please find an overview of all existing FIPs and improvement efforts, their current progress rating, and status here.

Update: The following FIPs have been suspended or are inactive and will need support from the SR for their reactivation:

  • Guatemala mahi-mahi, suspended
  • Panama mahi-mahi, suspended
  • Peru mahi-mahi – longline (Confremar), inactive
  • Peru Pacific swordfish – longline, declared inactive in June 2018  

Further support needed: SFP has organized a field trip to southern Peru to recruit new participants for COREMAHI and the WWF mahi FIP and to broaden the scale of the FIP. Ask your southern Peru suppliers to join COREMAHI and the FIP.

Contact the FIP implementers and confirm your interest in the FIP making and publicly reporting good progress. 

3. Support for Mitigation of Overarching Fishery/FIP Sustainability issues

SR members agreed on the following SR action points: a) requesting the IATTC, through their national delegates, to support the Mahi Committee requests, and b) continuing to support current FIPs and the new FIPs. 

Relevant News: Two letters were sent to IATTC national commissioners: 1) The SR letter, to support COREMAHI requests to the 94th Meeting of the IATTC. The letter was sent in July to the US national commissioners for the IATTC. This letter was signed by five companies: Chefs Trading, D&E Import, Fortune International, Stavis Seafood, and Beaver Street Fisheries. 2) The COREMAHI letters, which were sent to national commissioners. The letters asked the commissioners to present COREMAHI requests at the 94th Meeting of the IATTC. The requests were established in the COREMAHI position statement, which was launched in a workshop in Quito on June 13 and 14.

In July, two COREMAHI delegates participated for the first time in the IATTC, in Bilbao, Spain. This is the first time that artisanal longliners (fleets targeting tuna, mahi, and other large pelagics) have had a voice in the IATTC. They identified their allies within the IATTC to move votes to regulate FADs

SR members were informed of the conclusions of the 10th Meeting of the IATTC Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), the 9th Meeting of the Working Group on Bycatch, and the 2nd Meeting of the Joint Tuna RFMO Working Group via email; there will be a follow-up webinar.

As part of a draft regional management strategy for mahi, there is a proposal to conduct a genetic study to identify the mahi stock structure in the EPO.

FishSource profiles for mahi in the EPO have been updated at the stock level. New profiles have been created for mahi-mahi caught by longline and pole and line in Ecuador.

Further support needed: SR members can attend a webinar about the key outcomes of the recent IATTC meeting. The webinar will take place on Thursday, November 21.

SR members to confirm their interest in the genetic sampling study to identify the mahi stock structure in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru.

4. Expansion of the SR

No updates.

Further support needed: SR participants to report if they source from Brazil and refer other companies who do to the SR as well.

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