FAO activities on tuna
A large tuna is landed by fishermen working together
Courtesy of Jose Cort
FAO supplements activities of tuna fishery bodies, other regional international and national institutions involved in tuna fisheries research, management and trade of these species. Because of their regional and national competence, FAO plays a global role in:
• the collation, analysis, synthesis and dissemination of data and other information on the species and
• the resolution of global problems in fisheries research and management.
As a result, the data and other information on the tuna taxonomy, ecology, fisheries, farming, catches, stock status and fisheries management have been collated on the global scale, analysed and synthesized. They are disseminated to fisheries scientists, managers, fishing and processing industry, governments, other international organizations and the public at large.
Global tuna data and other informationFAO has been active particularly the collation, analysis, synthesis and dissemination of:
• data on tuna catches and
• information on tuna fisheries research, the status of the associated stocks, fisheries, markets, trade and fisheries management.
The top two data sets listed below are specifically for tuna and in the case of the 2nd data set, also for some billfishes. They contain data obtained mostly from the tuna Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The last data set presents mostly official national statistics for all fish species including tuna and billfishes.
FAO fishery bodiesOne of the tuna fishery bodies (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)) has been created and operates within the framework of FAO. Another FAO fishery body (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)) dealing with all marine resources in the Mediterranean Sea is active also in the management of tuna and tuna-like species in that Sea.
Resolution of global problems in tuna fisheries research and managementMany problems in tuna fisheries research and management are in the global scale. Therefore, it is more efficient and effective to deal with them on that scale, while the tuna fishery bodies have a regional scope. In addition to its global role, FAO provides a multi-disciplinary context involving all marine and island fish species for the consideration and resolution of tuna problems. One example of global cooperation and FAO’s contribution to global tuna fisheries management is the conclusion of the UN Stock Agreement to which FAO significantly contributed technically. The Agreement and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (formulated within the framework of FAO) pose new requirements for conservation, fisheries management, technology and research for tuna and tuna-like species.
More recently, FAO has provided a technical support for the 1st Joint Meeting of Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, which was held in Kyoto, Japan in 22 to 26 January 2007, which was organized to exchange information and discuss problems of mutual interest among them.
For further information, see:
Precautionary Approach and Tuna Research: Perspective from the 1995 UN Agreement, [Majkowski. j. 1998. In Cayré, P. & Le Gall, J.-Y., 1998. Le thon: enjeux et stratégies pour l'océan Indien/Tuna prospects and strategies for the Indian Ocean. In Proceedings of the International Tuna Conference 1996, 27–29 November 1996, Maurice. COI/Orstom, Paris, collection Colloques et Séminaires, 433–60p.].
Hauling the purse seine.The tuna is still in the water, trapped in the purse tied up in the bottom; the crew removes the by-catch from the net before hauling the tuna onboard.
Courtesy of Fadio/IRD-IFREMER/M. Taquet
In March 2000, FAO co-organized and co-financed, jointly with most tuna fishery bodies and some other institutions, a global Expert Consultation on Implications of the Precautionary Approach for Tuna Biological and Technological Research in Thailand. The precautionary approach is incorporated in the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and in the Code. It may affect the exploitation of tuna and tuna-like species by calling on states to be more cautious where information is uncertain, unreliable or inadequate.
For further information, see:
Using stock assessment information to assess fishing capacity of tuna fisheries