Tuna in the Coral Triangle - A blueprint for Renewal
The wealth of the Coral Triangle
The region produces 30% of global tuna landings of these species, and half of the landings from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, with an estimated annual landed value of USD 2 billion dollars.
Tuna processing plants in Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands provide tens of thousands of jobs to women.
Fisheries in crisisTuna species are declining at an alarmingly rapid rate, primarily because of human greed. Overfishing due to Illegal, Unregulated, and Undocumented (IUU) fishing, significant juvenile tuna catches, and the capture of endangered, threatened, or protected (ETP) species has resulted in the serial depletion of populations in many areas to critical limits.
Because tuna is a highly migratory species that requires the cooperation of all stakeholders to improve management across its vast geographic range, its fisheries have also become a highly political arena.
Multiplicity of interests has made it a challenge to put in place policies that follow scientific guidelines while still considering the interests of governments and other stakeholders, often resulting in weak governance and ineffective management.
A Tuna Blueprint: A ‘Big Win’
Since juvenile capture—the harvesting of fish before they can mature, breed, and propagate the species—is a key issue in fisheries-based conservation, the Tuna Blueprint identifies 4 large areas, including 3 transboundary ones, for protection, to allow species to complete their critical life stages.
WWF is aspiring for this ambitious yet attainable “Big Win,” which could potentially ensure the sustainability of the resource; save millions in foregone losses due to juvenile tuna exploitation; and achieve food security for people who depend on the species for survival.
Protecting a treasureProgress towards improvements in tuna fisheries management in the Coral Triangle:
- The skipjack fisheries of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) coalition, of which Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands are founding members, have been Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified.
- Most Coral Triangle countries have undertaken various policy reforms through their respective Tuna Management Plans.
- Fishery improvement projects (FIPs) are ongoing in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
- With the collaboration of Traceall Global Ltd, an electronic catch documentation scheme (e-CDS) prototype has been developed to collect important fisheries information, enabling the tracking of tunas from the boat to the point of retail sale.
- A Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) system has been developed to solve the problem of juvenile tuna capture.
Investing in the Tuna Blueprint will bring significant socio-economic benefits, with estimates of US$ 1.73 billion over 10 years from reducing juvenile tuna catch by just 50% in the Philippines alone