Vietnam Yellowfin Tuna Fisheries Improvement Project in the Coral Triangle | WWF

With approximately 2,000 vessels, an estimated 14,000 metric tons of annual catch, and a total export value of nearly USD 370 million, Vietnam’s yellowfin tuna fisheries is an important player in the rising global demand for tuna. WWF and a number of partners have been working together to help build a steadily improving fishery so that it can ultimately achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. In doing so, the FIP is also prototyping various approaches for FIP best practices.

Observer Program January 2015

© WWF-Vietnam/Observer Program January 2015

What is the Vietnam Yellowfin Tuna Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP)?

Rooted in earlier projects by WWF Vietnam focused on bycatch best practices, the Vietnam yellowfin tuna FIP process began in 2013 with the completion of a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) pre-assessment. An FIP Action Plan was completed in early 2014, which describes the necessary FIP activities, with associated responsible parties and timeframes, required to meet the MSC standard.

The FIP was formally launched in April 2014, having entered the implementation stage, with activities commenced and slated to be tracked and audited annually through to 2018. WWF Coral Triangle Program serves as the FIP Coordinator and WWF Vietnam is the National FIP Manager. The Vietnam Tuna Association (VinaTuna) is also a member of the FIP Coordination Unit together with WWF.

FIP Collaborators

Some of the stakeholders involved in this FIP include:
  • World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
  • VinaTuna
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) 
  • Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD)
  • Department of Capture Fisheries and Resource Protection (DECAFIREP)
  • Research Institute of Marine Fisheries (RIMF)
  • International exporters/suppliers, local processors and fishermen

FIP Partner Agreements

Several international suppliers and exporters spanning most major markets have entered into FIP Partner Agreements to help ensure the effective implementation of the FIP Action Plan, including identification of on-the-ground activities taken up by industry. The Partner Agreements further aim to ensure that recognized industry partners are achieving appropriate standards for traceability, corporate communication and marketing in their FIP-related activities.

These Agreements also help finance core FIP activities, and open other funding channels through diverse supply chains. Several WWF National Offices are likewise engaged in these corporate arrangements.

FIP Traceability

The FIP is prototyping the application of Fit as FIP traceability to ensure that Vietnam yellowfin tuna is differentiated in the marketplace. This requirement is particularly important in Vietnam where export volume exceeds domestic catch and over half of total exports (i.e. frozen yellowfin steak and loins) use foreign raw material which is re-exported.

FIP Partners are required to have a traceability system in place within 1 year of signing their Agreement, and for this system to be audited by an independent 3rd party within 18 months. These measures will help ensure unqualified products do not dilute the marketplace with inappropriate FIP fish.

Which Processors Can Provide FIP Traceability?

Several Vietnamese processors have made a commitment to support the use and adoption of the FIP traceability system and design that has been developed and agreed-upon by consensus by FIP stakeholders. In this way, these companies, as domestic processors, are recognized as being able to provide FIP eligible products to an appropriate FIP Partner/Participant company.

As of November, 2018, the list of participating processors includes:

Key Issues

In the pre-assessment, a number of MSC performance indicators (PIs) were scored such that the fishery would likely either fail under an MSC full assessment (score less than 60) or pass with conditions (score between 60 and 80).

These include the lack of a robust harvest strategy, lack of harvest control rules and tools, lack of data on species interactions in the fishery including shark interactions, insufficient measures for bycatch mitigation, limited understanding of ecosystem impacts from the fishery, and lack of stakeholder involvement in decision-making processes.

Please see the Action Plan for a more detailed review of issues and priorities for improvement


Working with fishing communities and stakeholders in industry, government, NGOs and the research community, WWF is:

  • Completing a series of capacity and training sessions for at-sea Observer Program, including initial deployment of 10 vessels with onboard observers in January 2015. The Observer Program training and at-sea deployment is planned to accelerate in 2015.
  • Collaborating and servicing several FIP Partners working within source fishing communities (in Phu Yen and Binh Dinh provinces) on logbook improvements, portside monitoring and overall FIP awareness
  • Facilitating with VinaTuna several community and stakeholder meetings, including the FIP Implementation Workshop in September 2014 to review key FIP activities completed in FY14 and revise the FIP Action Plan for FY15
  • Working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on various FIP activities and milestones related to WCPFC engagement, harvest control, risk assessment and other matters
  • Completing FIP Partner Agreements with industry, now signed with several international exporters/suppliers, outlining specific commitments from industry in support of the Action Plan