The Global Mahi Supply Chain Roundtable focuses on engaging and supporting fishery improvement initiatives (FIPs) in global mahi-mahi fisheries. The participants are leading North American importers and buyers of mahi-mahi sourced primarily from the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Western Central Pacific Ocean.
Currently, 50 percent of global mahi volume is considered sustainable or improving, and an additional 15 percent of global production could achieve the sustainable or improving categories via engagement through the Global Mahi SR. Most mahi-mahi production comes from artisanal fisheries and is an important source of income for fishers.
Mahi is considered a highly migratory species, and the fishery occurs within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of coastal countries and in international waters. This pattern of migration and habitat usage makes mahi a transboundary species, crossing the geographical boundaries of several countries, particularly in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Management of a transboundary species is challenging, as it requires coordinated data collection and development of regionally agreed-upon management and harvest strategies to reach sustainability goals. Currently, each country is developing or implementing science and management strategies individually. Presenting further challenges, the Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs), the international management bodies in charge of other highly migratory species such as tuna and billfish, do not have the mandate to manage mahi-mahi in the regions were the fishery operates. The key sustainability issues for mahi include limited scientific research and information to help develop fisheries management measures, bycatch issues in the fishery (mostly sea turtles and sharks), and limited fisheries governance and management, both domestically and internationally.
SR participants engage with industry and national government and research institutes on improvements needed in science and management for mahi fisheries; advocate for policy and governance system advancements; support efforts to reduce and mitigate bycatch of endangered, threatened, and protected species, and request their suppliers to participate in FIPs and implement best practices and improvements.
See a list of all SR members.
Q4 2023 Update:
- The Global Mahi SR took action on concerns about proposed legislation in Peru that would impact the fleet formalization process for squid and mahi fisheries. All 9 participating companies signed on to and submitted a letter to the Peruvian Congress expressing their support for the achievements in the now closed formalization process and voiced their concern about reopening the process due to the threat of additional vessels and/or illegal vessels entering the fishery.
- A Global Mahi SR meeting was held in December to review the preliminary bycatch reduction literature review briefing and SFP’s recent report related to global mahi trade and production: Mahi-Mahi: A summary of the global situation in terms of production, trade, and sustainability challenges. The report is available in English and Spanish.
Addressing priority issues across global mahi fisheries: A focus on bycatch
With nine global mahi FIPs currently in place across geographies with the highest production and market value, efforts are well underway to address some of the key sustainability issues related to improving mahi stock health and abundance, advancing fishery management strategies, and developing governance systems to allow for adequate long-term policies to support the biological and socioeconomic longevity of the fishery.
However, one critical issue that remains a major challenge for all global mahi fisheries is bycatch of non-target and endangered, threatened, and protected species. Given that this issue is a common theme across all mahi fisheries and also an issue that mahi FIPs are being challenged to address, the work of the SR is moving toward effecting change by supporting the development of fit-for-purpose solutions and sourcing commitments that will reduce and mitigate bycatch in global mahi fisheries.
This global approach of prioritizing the common issue of addressing bycatch across all mahi fisheries will allow for wider impact through targeted support of research trials and other scientific studies needed to meet the sustainability goals of mahi fisheries globally, while also aiding FIPs in advancing their bycatch-reduction goals.
The SR will also continue to engage with national governments, research institutes, industry, and other partners in support of projects to advance the science and research needs for mahi and efforts to ensure inclusive management and governance systems are in place.
For 2023-2025, SR participants will focus on the following strategic priorities:
- Advancing bycatch mitigation and monitoring across global mahi fisheries: The SR will work with industry on the use of technology and traditional data-collection methods to document and monitor bycatch and ETP species interactions and to trial specific “fit-for-purpose” mitigation, handling, and release techniques that can be widely adopted to reduce bycatch in the mahi fishery globally. This work will be further advanced through development of specific sourcing commitments that support bycatch reduction in their source fisheries.
- Strengthening co-management policies and implementation at the national level: Legal fishing rights for fishers and inclusion in the governance system for management of mahi is critical to the long-term sustainability of the fishery. Support from the SR to advocate for legal fishing rights for fishers will help reduce or eliminate the risk of IUU occurring in the global mahi fisheries.
- Engagement with national research institutes to align mahi science and management needs: Continued regional coordination of the science used to develop management for the mahi fishery in the EPO is needed. The SR will work with industry and national research institutes to support scientific projects that strengthen joint research activities to facilitate aligned management measures in the region.
SR Participation Requirements
- Any company interested in participating in the the Global Mahi SR should contact the Global Mahi Supply Chain Roundtable lead.
- Participants must review the current SR workplan and budget and sign a participation agreement on an annual basis.
- Each company is expected to make an annual contribution to participate in the Global Mahi SR. The contribution will be based on the annual budget for the activities to be conducted as part of the current SR workplan.
- Participants are encouraged to attend regular meetings (at least three virtual and one in-person).
- Participants are required to engage and collaborate with SFP and other technical experts, as requested and needed.