Protecting Ocean Wildlife

Reducing bycatch in Pacific Ocean longline tuna fisheries

Major tuna buyers can reverse the decline of sharks, sea turtles, and seabirds in the Western Central Pacific Ocean.

New research from Sustainable Fisheries Partnership highlights the impacts of commercial tuna longline fishing on endangered, threatened, and protected (ETP) species in the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO). The report found a profound loss of nature in the region, where several species of sharks, seabirds, and sea turtles have declined by 70 percent or more.

Longline fishing has one of the highest rates of bycatch among the gear types used in commercial tuna fisheries. But, there are existing, proven best practices that can reduce bycatch, including using circle hooks, setting lines at night, and eliminating wire leaders.

Improvements in fishing practices could substantially reduce threats to vulnerable marine wildlife that share habitat with tuna.

Read the research summary or the full technical report.

SFP recommends that buyers of longline-caught canned and fresh/frozen tuna from the Western Central Pacific Ocean:

  • Require that best practices in bycatch mitigation from source tuna fisheries are implemented by 2025.
  • Require that source tuna longline fisheries have complete observation coverage of vessels, with 50-percent coverage (human and electronic combined) by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030.

Reduce bycatch in tuna fisheries

To learn more about how you can help reverse the decline of ocean wildlife in the Pacific Ocean, please contact SFP.