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Media opportunity: Unique study highlights increased involvement of the private sector in international fishery negotiations, along with sustainability outcomes over 15 years
Tuna are highly migratory fish targeted by more than 80 countries. Fisheries for tuna are among the world’s most lucrative, with some developing island nations relying almost exclusively on revenue from the species and access to them for their livelihood. That has made stock management vitally important for the industry, government and all of those involved in the fishery.
In a bid to try to ensure the total catch is sustainable, governments meet annually to negotiate fishery quotas and restrictions. Companies that fish for tuna also participate in these negotiations, yet little is known about their involvement in the talks.
Dalhousie University researchers looked into meeting attendance and found industry attendees now almost outnumber those from government, with 15 of 158 companies accounting for 41 per cent of recent industry representation. Overall, the number of different companies attending negotiations has nearly tripled since 2005.
Postdoctoral researcher Laurenne Schiller and Dalhousie associate professor Megan Bailey led the study, published today in the journal One Earth. It looked at attendance from 2005 to 2018 and focused on negotiations for western and central Pacific tuna fisheries, which provide 60 per cent of the world's five-million-tonne tuna catch.
During the study period, tuna fisheries management improved in that period, suggesting that company involvement does not hinder sustainability outcomes and could play a supportive role when agendas are aligned.
Dr. Schiller is available to discuss the study and the surprising influence small island Pacific nations have in determining who can fish the fast-moving animals that are a food staple for millions.
Senior Research Reporter
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