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Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability in the ABNJ
© ISSF, David Itano

Sustainable management of tuna fisheries and biodiversity conservation in the ABNJ


Achieve sustainable and efficient tuna fisheries production and biodiversity conservation through the systematic application of an ecosystem approach.

This project focuses on three areas:

  • Supporting implementation of sustainable and efficient fisheries management and fishing practices
  • Reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing through strengthened and harmonized monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS)
  • Reducing ecosystem impacts from tuna fishing, including effects on bycatch and associated species


Highly migratory tuna species account for about 16% of the value of all marine capture fisheries and their management is the direct responsibility of the five tuna regional fisheries management organizations (t-RFMOs). Over 85 countries harvest tuna in commercial quantities, with yearly exports accounting for about 8% of all internationally traded seafood. The value of the most important tunas is estimated at 17 billion USD annually.

With the strong demand for tuna, combined with overcapacity of fishing fleets, the status of existing tuna stocks is likely to deteriorate further if fisheries management is not improved. With collective action and partnering by all stakeholders at global, national and regional levels – especially t-RFMOs, their member countries and the tuna industry – ABNJ fisheries and ecosystems will be able to contribute effectively to the socioeconomic development and food and livelihoods security of the millions of people involved in these fisheries for generations to come.

Working with key stakeholders, this project strives for efficiency and sustainability in tuna production and biodiversity conservation, through the application of an ecosystem approach. This unique project draws together a large and diverse group of stakeholders – from consumers and industry to t-RFMOs, NGOs and international organizations – that play important roles in tuna fisheries. The partnership builds on existing collaborations to facilitate optimal use of scarce capacity and resources in order to achieve the global goals for sustainable fishing and biodiversity conservation. Certain aspects focus on all RFMOs, while other elements concentrate on priority countries, regions and fisheries with a view towards capacity development.

Project Partners

Global Environment Facility (GEF) Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Commission for the Conservation of Sourthern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)
Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)
Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)
World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)
Government of Fiji Government of Ghana BirdLife International
International Seafood Sustainability Association (ISSA)
Marine Stewardship Council
Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Pacific Community (SPC)
Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP)
Organización del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola de Centroamerica (OSPESCA)
Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association (FTBOA)
International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)