Last Update: December 2017
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:
For the full list of fisheries in need of improvements and their sustainability status, progress of the FIPs, and improvement recommendations, please click here.
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.
The SR prioritizes the following fisheries for the initiation of FIPs:
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.
Central America Mahi Supply Chain Roundtable
Miami, Florida, US (December 2012)
Boston, Massachusetts, US (March 2013)
Las Vegas, Nevada, US (February 2014)
Miami, Florida, US (June 2015) – The inaugural meeting of the SR was convened to discuss the expansion of the Mahi SR and the fisheries of interest. The meeting reviewed current and required FIPs, fishery improvement needs, and recommendations for future progress (see meeting presentation here).
January – March
The 2016 annual meeting was held in February in Miami, Florida. Discussion analyzed relevant fisheries, including progress by RFMO mahi stock assessment; reviewed FIP progress throughout the region; and explored paths for enhanced sustainability in the EPO. Participants discussed coordination of individual efforts and national-level issues. Chefs Trading presented its traceability system and the AllFIP initiative, a funding scheme (in which Seattle Fish Co. is already a participant) by which participants plan to fund specific FIPs in fisheries they source from.
April – December
The SR has supported a series of industry-led efforts to initiate FIPs. Chefs Trading has made positive progress to initiate a FIP for yellowfin tuna and swordfish in Costa Rica, and Marpesca and FUNAPESCA have taken steps to initiate a FIP in Panama covering mahi-mahi and yellowfin tuna. SFP provided FIP training to partners and their supply chains; gave technical support; and assisted with the development of white papers, action plans, and MOUs.
Costa Rica Pre-FIP progressed with engagement of national industry players and fishing organizations. The improvement efforts have been registered on fisheryprogress.org as Prospective FIP and will report there once the work plan has been finalized and published.
Panama Pre-FIP work is advancing.
The SR met during the SFP Americas Fisheries Forum in Costa Rica to review the status and provide recommendations to ensure FIP progress in large pelagic fisheries under the SR.
The SR identified the need to convey the improvement recommendations at the IATTC level. SR participants also discussed how to best support FIPs in the region, financially and in supporting progress, in a pre-competitive manner. During the meeting, attendees agreed that SFP would provide a list of IATTC delegates from each country and guidance on basic improvement asks to be requested. Some SR members expressed interest in, and a commitment to, taking action and communicating with their national delegates to get improvements at the regional level.
To do so, SFP sent lists of IATTC delegates, provided guidance, and developed a set of asks to SR members and supported members in approaching delegates.
If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.