The rise of sustainability claims in the global tuna industry has grown over the last decade, with NGO and market influence largely driving the growth. But what affect will have on the future sustainability of the tuna industry? Simon Bush addressed this question in his presentation at the 6th European Tuna Conference held in Brussels in April.
The growth of sustainability claims has led to an emerging risk of a coordination failure between the sustainability claims of tuna fishermen and buyers. In practice this means that established eco-labels such as the as the Marine Stewardship Council and increasingly competing with new claims associated with FAD-Free and fisheries improvement projects.
The interaction between these claims, and the sustainability schemes that promote them, can have many outcomes. But one likely outcome is competition and a potential decline o the credibility of all sustainability claims.
What then does the future hold?
It is unlikely that the industry will move to a “gold standard” claim or sustainability scheme. It is more likely that existing claims and schemes will need to be actively coordinated to account for the differences in fisheries, both in terms of gears and the capabilities of fishers to comply with sustainability standards.
The BESTTuna programme is in its final 12 months. For more information on research results go to www.besttuna.org