“Tuna Futures” workshop in Amsterdam

Published on
November 6, 2015

There is no shortage of market demand for tuna, and no shortage of fishers and fishing companies combing the seas to catch them. What does seem to be in short supply, however, are innovative solutions to ensure a bright future for the fish, the fisheries, and the world’s tuna consumers.

On October 22nd and 23rd, BESTTuna, in association with Sustunable, hosted a workshop where solutions for a bright tuna future were on the agenda. The group, 14 individuals in total, consisted of members from 6 universities, 2 seafood trading companies, and 3 NGOs. The focus of the meeting was specifically not to be on the challenges of sustainable tuna governance. Rather, the focus was to be on pathways and solutions for sustainable governance.

Many of the solutions tabled by the group focused on technology. Underwater drones, remote-controlled fish aggregating devices (FADs), and electronic traceability all emerged as potential game-changers in the sustainable tuna movement. Many participants also tabled solutions at or about governance systems and highlighted solutions that could address social, equity and transparency issues.

Regardless of what solutions are prioritized in the coming months and years, the group concluded that both the market and the state have key roles in operationalizing solutions moving forward. While states are the legal stewards of fish in their waters, the market in many ways controls what product consumers have access to and are incentivized to buy. Adoption of cross-cutting solutions that embrace the power of markets and states, not as a binary choice, but as an intersecting powerhouse, are perhaps the best pathway to a bright tuna future.