Last Update: June 2018
The Eastern Pacific Ocean Large Pelagics Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) was formed in 2015 from an expansion of the previous Central America Mahi SR.
The Eastern Pacific Ocean large pelagics (EPOLP) fisheries are multi-species and include an array of highly migratory species such as tuna, billfishes, sharks, mahi-mahi, and jacks. These fisheries share both management and environmental challenges that make them a global conservation priority, including wide-ranging distribution across diverse habitats, their species’ roles as top-level predators, and the conditions of their populations. Another matter of importance for large pelagics fishing involves the incidental capture of endangered, threatened, or protected (ETP) species, as well as species of importance for other sectors and special interest (sharks and turtles).
The Eastern Pacific Ocean Large Pelagics SR focuses on influencing regional policy, promoting local FIPs to ensure best fishing practices at the coastal state level, and encouraging alignment across the entire fleet at a trans-boundary level.
Supply Chain Roundtable Participants:
Current Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered: The SR focuses on Eastern Pacific Ocean large pelagics.
The following FIPs are supported and monitored:
Improvement Needs and Recommendations:
1. Formal adoption of biological reference points and harvest control rules for target and key bycatch species (e.g., sharks, billfish).
2. 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.
3. Control of fishing mortality to maintain the stocks at or above MSY, or to recover the biomass to desired levels for any overexploited stocks.
4. 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).
The SR prioritizes the following fisheries for the initiation of FIPs:
Ecuador pole and line Tuna
Ecuador longline swordfish
Current Objectives and Action Recommendations for Suppliers:
1. Communicate with national governments about the need for policy improvement.
- The fisheries for large pelagics in the EPO are multi-species fisheries, and while tuna stocks have a good management scheme, most of the harvest control rules that have been defined have not yet been formally adopted.
- The current requirement for onboard observer coverage for the longline fleet is 5 percent. This coverage is too low and lacks compliance.
2. Communicate to Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) about the need for improved management measures, including:
- Formally adopt biological reference points and harvest control rules for target and key bycatch species.
- Increase longline observer coverage to a minimum of 20 percent.
- Complete and publish the mahi-mahi stock assessment as soon as possible.
- Develop a plan to compete a full stock assessment for hammerhead sharks.
- Further broaden and expand coverage of bycatch mitigation measures.
3. Develop procurement specifications and best practice guidelines that all members of the SR can agree upon and adopt as formal policy.
4. Request that your suppliers implement the following improvements (as applicable) included in various documents published by SFP on procurement specifications and fishing best practices:
- For mitigating bycatch in longline fisheries, adopt hook sizes and shapes designed for reducing the catch of turtles.
- Set main (mother) lines deeper than 100 meters (most bycatch occurs in shallow waters and the first 100 meters, and most tuna catches occur between 100m and 400m). 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.
For the most recent progress update, click here.
If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.