Sustainability in WCPO Skipjack Tuna Fisheries Management and its impact on the Global Value Chain of the Tuna Canning Industry

How partnerships between firms, states and NGOs contribute to sustainable management of tuna fisheries within the empirical context of a Global Value Chain approach.

PhD candidate Steven Adolf

Skipjack tuna in the Western and Central Pacific is the biggest single stock of free school tuna left in the Oceans and the main the global supply of raw material for the global value chain of canned tuna.

The focus of this research are the policy measures introduced by the eight island states of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to make the large scale purse seine fisheries on skipjack tuna in their EEZ waters more sustainable and guarantee future economic benefits. Questions explore the different partnerships between firms and states that surge around these innovative management tools and how this will affect the governance of the GVC of canned tuna through its institutional and economic frameworks.

Ongoing field work is empirically investigating the introduction of MSC certified skipjack tuna by the PNA, the European Union Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Kiribati and the Vessel Day Scheme, and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and the management of Fish Aggregating Devices.

This study will contribute to a theoretical understanding of sustainability partnerships in relation to the global value chain governance. Analysis will focus on how these political economic practices influence the outcomes of environmental policies to improve sustainable practices. These findings are significant for what can be labelled the ‘governance impact’ and to determine if the conclusions can be applied in a more general way to sustainability policies.

Research questions

  1. How do states reposition themselves in the governance of the GVC through public-private partnerships in relation to the MSC certification of skipjack.
  2. How will formal and informal partnerships around the FPA change the governance on the VDS.
  3. How will the ISSF as a partnership of lead firms affect the introduction of the PNA policy on FADs.
  4. How can we categorize the different characteristics of partnerships and their impact on the governance of sustainability in the chain. Can we define the conditions that have to be in place for partnerships to facilitate the political-economic change in state-business relationships.