Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability and biodiversity in the ABNJ

Tuna fisheries

Every year, millions of tonnes of tuna are landed at ports worldwide, providing food and supporting the livelihoods of people. However, strong demand, combined with overcapacity of fishing fleets, creates growing pressure on tuna, leading to a decrease of tuna stocks fished at sustainable levels.

The Common Oceans Program aims to reverse this trend by promoting more responsible and sustainable tuna fishing. It works to ensure that all major tuna stocks are fished at sustainable levels, that compliance with management measures is improved and to preserve biodiversity by reducing negative impacts caused by tuna fisheries on marine ecosystems.

From 2014-2019, it helped reduce the number of major tuna stocks experiencing overfishing from 13 to 5 in collaboration with the world’s five tuna regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) and a large number of partners – including intergovernmental organizations, civil society and the private sector.

In the coming years, the Common Ocean Program will step up efforts to support further reductions in catches from stocks that are subject to overfishing, including tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) fishing, while enhancing the contribution to biodiversity conservation. 

Key activities

Improve tuna fisheries management

Ensure that all major tuna stocks are fished at sustainable levels advancing the use of harvest strategies.Promote the ecosystem approach to fisheries management in tuna regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs).

Promote sustainable fishing practices with incentives such as better market conditions for sustainably sourced fishery products.

Tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

Make enforcement of fisheries regulations more efficient with training in monitoring, control and surveillance.

Improve compliance with fishing regulations by promoting innovative tools like electronic monitoring and traceability systems.

Reduce impacts of tuna fisheries on the environment

Decrease bycatch by improved monitoring of catches of sharks, rays, cetaceans and seabirds and promoting best practices in bycatch mitigation techniques and alternative gear.

Lower environmental impacts by advocating the adoption of ocean-friendly fishing devices.