Ocean Equity Research

Increasing Industry Involvement in International Tuna Fishery Negotiations

Publication Details

Laurenne Schiller, Graeme Auld, Quentin Hanich, Megan Bailey, Increasing industry involvement in international tuna fishery negotiations, One Earth (Vol. 6/1, 2023)


Tuna is a food staple for many families, and billions of cans are consumed annually. Most tuna comes from the Western Pacific where fishing companies pay to fish in island country waters. Ensuring the catch is sustainable is the collective responsibility of all countries, so governments meet annually to negotiate fishery quotas and restrictions. Little is known about how companies participate in these negotiations, although outcomes affect their businesses, and whether they abide by outcomes affects the long-term sustainability of tuna. By combining negotiation attendance lists and interviewing attendees, we found industry attendees now almost outnumber those from government, and 15 of 158 companies accounted for 41% of recent industry representation. While 70% of island delegations had foreign industry representatives, interviewees suggested current company involvement does not negatively affect negotiation decisions and may even help ensure sustainable tuna fisheries in this region.

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