Why tuna, whitefish, shrimp and forage fish?

 / ©: WWF Canon
WWF priority fish species
© WWF Canon
WWF prioritizes four fish species because of their crucial biological and ecological role in the global seafood chain.  These species are caught in important ecoregions that need special protection such as the Arctic or the Coral Triangle. 

Furthermore, they represent the largest categories of wild-caught seafood by commercial value and traded volume. As such, they have the strongest potential to transform fisheries markets into sustainable business.

Fundamental to the food web chain

Tuna, whitefish, forage fish and tropical shrimp species play a crucial role in the food web structure of marine biodiversity. 

Whitefish for instance is a key component of the entire food chain. Larval and juvenile fish both prey on smaller marine animals and provide food for larger fish, birds and some marine mammals. Some adult species (such as cod, hake and haddock) are amongst the ocean’s top predators. Hence, different species populations within these fisheries play important and critical roles in their respective marine ecosystems.

Restoring these fish populations and preventing their further collapse will strengthen ecosystems and help them become more resilient to other man-made threats such as pollution and climate change.

Restore the balance of all marine ecosystems... 

WWF´s four priority species form part of a wide ecosystem and cover many geographies. Therefore, they represent top candidates for improving the way they are fished, traded, managed and consumed.

By taking a Smart Fishing approach, WWF is supporting marine conservation in priority places such as the Coral Triangle, Arctic, and Coastal East Africa and helping to reduce threats to several other species such as turtles, cetaceans and pelagic sharks that are of crucial importance to the entire marine ecosystem.

Improve markets and supply chains

WWF works with public and private sector partners to build a sustainable seafood future. We advocate policies and practices that improve transparency of fishing, protect the oceans and the long-term viability of our seafood supply. 

WWF believes that companies have the power to drive a more responsible seafood market and that they are the first to have an interest in a sustainable future for fisheries.  As such, WWF also collaborates with producers, processors, suppliers and retailers to help assess their supply chains, adopt, implement and promote responsible procurement policies and practices.  


 / ©: Rudolf Svenson / WWF-Canon
Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)
© Rudolf Svenson / WWF-Canon

Of the millions of eggs each female Atlantic cod can spawn in her lifetime, only two need to survive to adulthood for the population to remain stable.

For the past 30 years, humans have not even allowed this.

 / ©: Quentin BATES / WWF-Canon
Deepwater redfish (Sebastes mentella) caught in a fishing net.
© Quentin BATES / WWF-Canon
Whitefish, tuna, tropical shrimp and forage fisheries all use fishing techniques that can be improved substantially. This will help to keep our oceans healthy, both ecologically and economically.
© WWF Greater Mekong © Jurgen Freund / WWF Canon © Erling Svensen/WWF Canon © Mike R. Jackson / WWF-Canon © Wild Wonders of Europe / Zankl / WWF
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