Experts at Conservation International say this will ensure all tuna fisheries within the jurisdiction of Pacific Island countries are environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and climate adaptive.
Pablo Obregon told Conservation News their work to combine market- and policy-based strategies had proven vital in achieving seafood sustainability.
“In the Cook Islands, for example, Conservation International is collaborating with the government, the tuna seafood industry and traditional leadership groups to develop and apply rigorous standards of environmental sustainability, social responsibility and economic performance, which all tuna vessels operating within the Cook Island jurisdiction must meet,” Obregon said.
One of the things this approach tried to prevent was the “spottiness” of certain certification schemes, he said.
“This is where you have sustainably certified fisheries operating within the same area as fleets engaged inillegal, unreported, and unregulated and socially irresponsible fishing.”
Obregon said the key to address this problem is to work with the seafood industry on these types of market approaches, while at the same time collaborating with governments to ensure the application of rigorous environmental and social sustainability standards that fishers must abide by within a defined jurisdiction.
“That includes looking at the climate change piece as well, which Conservation International and partners have shown will significantly impact Pacific Island nations by shifting and depleting tuna stocks.
“We’re hopeful that the jurisdictional approach in the Cook Islands can be scaled to the regional level, ensuring that all tuna fisheries within the jurisdiction of Pacific Island countries are environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and climate adaptive.”