Fourteen companies have joined the Global Tuna Alliance (GTA) as a result of a new collaboration with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), expanding the GTA’s membership by more than 40% and increasing its reach to government delegations and customers across the United States and internationally. In tandem, SFP is expanding its work with GTA members and other partners with a new global initiative to reduce bycatch of endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species in commercial fisheries, including a new “Bycatch Hub,” a first-ever network of companies dedicated to industry-led adoption of best practices to protect ocean wildlife. 

In 2021, SFP gathered feedback from the participants of its Global Longline Tuna Supply Chain Roundtable (SR), identifying bycatch mitigation and international fisheries advocacy, especially with regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs), as their top business priorities. In order to maximize the effectiveness of the tuna sector in advancing sustainability, SFP proposed that its SR participants join the GTA to focus on their advocacy-related work, while SFP would continue to work with these companies and others to reduce the catch of sharks, seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles in commercial fisheries. 

Tom Pickerell, Executive Director of the Global Tuna Alliance said:

“The GTA and SFP have a long and constructive relationship; I was the former Global Tuna Director at SFP and left to become the Executive Director of the GTA. Furthermore, as many SFP Partners are also GTA members, from day one we collaborated and our shared values allowed us to align on positions wherever possible.

This decision by SFP to allow them to focus on bycatch and to recommend their Roundtable participants join the GTA is very welcome indeed. Greater numbers means greater influence, and our increased representation in the USA, and new representation in Canada and Hong Kong, provides us with greater access to important RFMO delegations.”

New GTA Partner, and former SR Participant Dean Holzer at D&E Imports said:

“D&E Import believes that we need to make a concerted effort by participating in programs such as the Global Tuna Alliance to ensure that we do not deplete the world’s oceans of its valuable resources. One of our core items that we import and sell is Yellowfin Tuna. By partnering with the Global Tuna Alliance, we can work together towards those goals – to ensure the tuna fisheries have legally caught and reported catches sourced responsibly in order to achieve truly sustainable fisheries for the future.”

Kathryn Novak, Global Markets Director at SFP said: 

“With each organization playing to its own strength, we can increase our impact on improving international fisheries management and reducing bycatch of ocean wildlife. While bycatch of ETP species continues to be a pervasive problem, there are solutions out there and best practices that work. It is now a matter of getting the word out and scaling the uptake of these practices. Our Bycatch Hub will bring the industry together by creating a network of companies committed to identifying what has worked in their fisheries, sharing their experiences, and adopting and implementing these practices at the scale we need to solve the bycatch problem.”