The problem of bycatch – the unintended capture of non-target species such as sharks, seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles in marine fisheries – is a major challenge to 

the goal of 100-percent sustainable seafood. While there are already many programs being delivered by other NGOs on biodiversity and ocean wildlife issues, most of these are focused on certain species, specific regions, or individual fisheries, and few of them have the engagement of the seafood industry and its supply chain. 

Leveraging our wide network across the seafood industry and our many partners who care about marine biodiversity, SFP is developing a program of work that will enhance and

magnify the impacts of existing efforts, globally and at scale. Our goal is to achieve: 

  • The widespread adoption of best practices to reduce bycatch of endangered, threatened, and protected (ETP) species.
  • 100-percent observer coverage in fisheries where there is a risk of harm to ETP species, including the major expansion and implementation of electronic monitoring systems. 

Key strategies of this work include:  

  • Research to identify the most urgent ocean wildlife bycatch issues and associated supply chains, including the linkages between company sourcing and the risks to biodiversity. 
  • Support of retailers to adopt procurement specifications requiring the fisheries they source from to avoid unnecessary impacts on marine wildlife.
  • Use of fishery improvement projects (FIPs) as a method for producers to broadly resolve bycatch problems.  

Using our proven approach, SFP will leverage action down the supply chain to achieve broad protections for ocean wildlife, including:   

  • Getting fleets to voluntarily adopt best practices for bycatch mitigation and observer coverage. 
  • Mobilizing producers and suppliers in target countries to seek improvements in government policies to protect vulnerable marine species and provide high levels of observer coverage. 
  • Mobilizing wide support to ensure regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) take action to reduce bycatch and increase observer coverage.

Click here to download a copy of SFP’s guide to Best Practices for Reducing Bycatch in Longline Tuna Fisheries.