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 focuses mainly on mahi-mahi fisheries, but will also monitors other large pelagic FIPs in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

As described in the mahi-mahi T75 report, 59 percent of global mahi volume is 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. An overview of the mahi-mahi fisheries covered by the SR can be found here. 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:

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

  • Ecuador longline swordfish.

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

A summary of past progress can be found in our SR chronicles.

Improvement Needs and Recommendations:

  1. Formalizing unregulated fleets to contribute to ending IUU fishing.
  2. Identifying the stock structure of mahi-mahi in the EPO, through genetic studies or by conducting a tagging program.
  3. Conducting conventional stock assessments and adopting biological reference points and harvest control rules for mahi-mahi and key bycatch species (e.g., sharks, billfish).
  4. 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.
  5. Industry-recognized adoption of changes to fishing practices to minimize the bycatch and mortality rates of ETP species, such as those outlined in the Best Practices for Reducing Bycatch in Longline Tuna 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 longline fleet vessels greater than 20 meters 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 improvements in science and conservation 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.
  • Increase longline observer coverage to a minimum of 20 percent.
  • Adopt a regional scientific plan for mahi-mahi, aligned with the Strategic Scientific Plan presented at the 93rd Meeting of the IATTC.
  • Maintain training activities for captains on the onboard handling of bycatch species, 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 or catalyze new 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 the current finning ban by requiring a “fins naturally attached” policy to be formally adopted by IATTC.
  • Develop an international agreement for the regional management of mahi-mahi.

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 – April to June 2020 

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 in our SR Chronicles.

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.

Ecuador:

Update: SFP consulted SR members on the demand for Fair Trade from US buyers, to explore the possibility of implementing a FIP to achieve Fair Trade certification for mahi-mahi in Ecuador. For MSC certification, collaboration with Peru will be needed for further improvements in the fishery. Thus, SFP is re-evaluating the balance between the needed regional improvement work and the national/supply chain-specific FIP in Ecuador.

SFP had a call with the president of an artisanal fishers cooperative in Santa Rosa about the FIP and the Fair Trade certification. He showed interest and agreed to organize a meeting with all the associated fishers to explain the application process for Fair Trade.

Further support needed: SR members to support catalyzation of a Fair Trade FIP in Ecuador.

Peru:

Update: WWF still plans to expand the FIP scale and scope to include the Southern Peruvian mahi fleet, but this work is on hold due to COVID-19.

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 ratings, and status here.

Update: SFP provided an update to SR participants on the status of the mahi-mahi FIPs in the EPO during COVID-19.

SFP has invited Marpesca, the Panama FIP implementor, to participate in the next COREMAHI virtual meeting in July.

Further support needed: SR members to support development of a financial mechanism to implement the Costa Rica Longline Large Pelagic FIP.

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 requests from the Mahi Regional Committee COREMAHI (www.coremahi.org), and b) continuing to support current FIPs, new FIPs, and regional initiatives

Relevant News: SFP shared a proposal for the regional scientific plan for mahi-mahi with the Global Mahi SR members via email, asking them to request their IATTC national commissioners to support the plan in the next Scientific Advisory Committee meeting. SFP also updated SR members on the status of the mahi-mahi FIPs in the EPO during COVID-19. An interest specifically flagged was mahi behavior on FADs, which has been included.

SFP participated in informal virtual meetings of the IATTC bycatch working group and FADs working group.

SFP had a virtual meeting with the Ecuador National Fisheries Institution (INP) and the Undersecretary of Fishing Resources (SRP) to present a regional scientific plan proposal for mahi-mahi. The meeting aimed to explain the plan and explore the possibility of the Ecuador commissioners presenting the plan in the next IATTC meeting. The plan was developed based on COREMAHI needs to improve knowledge of the mahi-mahi stock and FAD impacts on mahi-mahi stocks. The SRP and the INP made comments that were included in an updated version of the plan. Ultimately, the SRP and INP agreed to present the plan at the next IATTC Scientific Advisory Committee meeting.

SFP has prepared a letter to register COREMAHI as an observer in the next IATTC meetings. The letter was sent to the COREMAHI president for feedback and signature. They are likely to attend the meeting in September. 

Further support needed: SR members to sign the letter requesting their national delegates to adopt the mahi-mahi scientific plan.

4. Expansion of the SR

Updates: A new participant, Iberostar, has joined the SR.

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

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