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 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:
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 (World Wildlife Fund)
Taiwan Hsin-Kang Mahi - Mahi - Longline FIP
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:
Beaver Street Fisheries
D&E Import LLC
Inland Seafood Corporation
Orca Bay Foods
The Fishin' Company
Wild Fish Direct
Improvement needs, objectives, and action recommendations for 2020 are in development, and will be published after the annual SR meeting
A summary of past progress can be found in our SR chronicles.
Improvement Needs and Recommendations:
- Formalizing unregulated fleets, to contribute to ending IUU fishing.
- Identifying the stock structure of mahi-mahi in the EPO, through genetics studies or by conducting a tagging program.
- Conducting conventional stock assessments and adopting biological reference points and harvest control rules for mahi-mahi and key bycatch species (e.g., sharks, billfish).
- 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.
- Control of fishing mortality to maintain the stocks at or above MSY, or to recover the biomass to desired levels for any overexploited stocks.
- 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 in Tuna Longline Fisheries report.
- 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.
- 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.
- Develop an international agreement for the regional management of mahi-mahi.
If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.
Quarterly Global Mahi SR Update – October to December 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 in our SR chronicles.
1. Improvements in Target 75 Priority Fisheries
Costa Rica Longline Yellow Fin Tuna, Swordfish, and Mahi FIP:
Update: SFP hired a consultant to update the National Plan of Action for sharks. The consultant presented a workplan, which INCOPESCA and SFP approved to start the work. The consultant held the first working session with stakeholders and will present the first report on January 6.
The Costa Rica large pelagics - longline and green stick FIP is currently coordinated by a UNDP consultant and work will progress to transfer the FIP lead to industry.
Further support needed: SR members can provide financial assistance to develop workshops for the consultants or to implement other activities from the workplan.
Ecuador Pole and Line FIP:
Update: A representative of the pole and line fleet informed us that they are selling their product to local markets in Manta. They have had conversations with two tuna processors to try to sell their product, however the processing of this kind of tuna is more expensive than the processing of purse seine tuna due to the amount of water in pole and line tuna.
No further support needed.
Ecuador Industrial Longline Swordfish FIP:
Update: The FIP coordinator has changed and will be introduced to the SR participants in a webinar in 2020.
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.
The Peru mahi-mahi – longline (Confremar) FIP is now covered by the Peru mahi-mahi – longline (WWF) FIP. SFP has organized a field trip to southern Peru in May 2020 to recruit new participants for COREMAHI and the WWF mahi FIP and to broaden the scale of the FIP.
The Ecuador mahi-mahi – longline FIP is completed and went into MSC full assessment. There is a small-scale fleet not currently participating in the FIP that should join. When the MSC FA becomes available, SFP will reach out to explore opportunities for inclusion of this fleet in the certification or whether there is a need to set up a FIP.
Further support needed: Ask your southern Peru suppliers to join COREMAHI and the 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 and the new FIPs.
Relevant News: SFP held a Global Mahi SR webinar on November 21, 2019, that covered the mahi-mahi conclusions of the 10th Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee and the 94th Meeting of the IATTC. SFP monitored the WCPFC meeting in December, but WCPFC has no mahi-related management measures.
It was decided that SFP will attend the next RFMO scientific committee meeting in May, with COREMAHI, to present the scientific plan to identify stock structure and regular assessments, as well as a document to agree on management measures.
The national fishing institutes from Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru (INCOPESCA, INP, and IMARPE) have begun to collect samples for a genetic study to identify the mahi stock structure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Further support needed: Support these documents by sending a letter to national delegates to raise awareness and gain support at the meeting.
4. Expansion of the SR
Updates: A new participant, Altamar Foods, joined the SR.
Further support needed: SR participants to report if they source from Brazil and refer other companies who do to the SR as well.