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:
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:
Costa Rica large pelagics - longline
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:
Beaver Street Fisheries
D&E Import LLC
Inland Seafood Corporation
Orca Bay Foods
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.
- Implement a prohibition on the use of steel leaders to reduce shark bycatch, during a period of three consecutive months from April through September of each year for the relevant portions of their national fleets.
- 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.
- 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.
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 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
Costa Rica Longline YFT, Swordfish, and Mahi FIP:
Update: The FIP is under is full implementation and is pending upload to Fishery Progress.
No further support needed.
Ecuador Pole and Line FIP:
Update: Two SR members, D&E Imports and Fortune International, sent their tuna requirements and showed interest in supporting this FIP.
No further support needed.
Ecuador Industrial Longline Swordfish FIP:
Update: No further developments.
Further support needed: Support the FIP initiation and refer your supply chain to this initiative.
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: 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: SFP staff participated in the 10th Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee, the Bycatch Working Group, and Joint RFMO FAD Working Group meetings held in San Diego, CA on May 8-17, 2019.
COREMAHI sent their position statement to the national commissioners from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru asking for support for the following requests: Mandate the IATTC Scientific Committee to:
- conduct an analysis of the stock structure of mahi-mahi in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO)
- conduct regular and frequent stock assessments for mahi
- conduct a scientific analysis of the impacts of FADs on mahi stocks and evaluate the existing FAD management measures.
Nine SR participants signed a letter supporting COREMAHI requirements and asking these to be presented in the Scientific Advisory Committee meeting. Two letters were sent to IATTC national commissioners. The Scientific Advisory Committee agreed to recommend that the IATTC scientific staff continue working with CPCs to research on the stock status of mahi-mahi in the EPO.
Producers and processors of mahi-mahi in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Perú (COREMAHI) were informed about: a) the management measures and regulations adopted by the RFMOs on fish aggregating devices (FADs) in order to mitigate environmental and bycatch impacts, and b) the current scientific information on mahi stocks and the information gaps that need to be addressed in order to achieve sustainable fisheries. On the basis of this information, COREMAHI released a position statement requiring the inclusion of mahi-mahi studies in the IATTC scientific plan and the conducting of studies about the effects of FADs in mahi fisheries. This position statement will be presented to their IATTC national commissioners so they can advocate for these requirements at the next IATTC meeting on July 22-26.
An SR meeting to inform the SR participants about the conclusions of the 10th Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee will take place following the IATTC annual meeting in July.
Further support needed: SR participants to sign a letter supporting the COREMAHI requests at the 94th Meeting of the IATTC in July. SR participants to agree on financial support for COREMAHI activities.
4. Expansion of the SR
Update: Stavis Seafoodand Orca Bay Seafoodsbecame new formal participants in the SR.
Further support needed: The SR is seeking further participation from mahi-mahi buyers.