Fresh Tuna catch
As migratory tuna species account for 20 per cent of the value of all marine capture fisheries and over eight per cent of all globally traded seafood,
Photo:Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

Is your tuna sustainable?

Canned tuna has been a great ally in our pantries during the pandemic. But, regardless of the market exceptionalities caused by the pandemic, we cannot ignore that, for a long time, this product has been a victim of its nutritional success. Tuna is rich in Omega-3 and it also contains minerals, proteins, and vitamin B12, among other advantages.

As a result of the amazing qualities of tuna, the fish are threatened by overwhelming demand. According to the latest data, among the seven principal tuna species, 33.3 percent of the stocks are estimated to be fished at biologically unsustainable levels

That is why in December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly voted to officially observe World Tuna Day.

The move underlines the importance of conservation management to ensure that we have systems in place to prevent tuna stocks from crashing. Many countries depend heavily on tuna resources for food security and nutrition, economic development, employment, government revenue, livelihoods, culture, and recreation.

Logo of the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture

A year to recognize artisanal fishery

Help us this International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture to honor those fishermen, fish farmers and workers in the small-scale and artisanal sector. Show your gratitude and make others see their contribution to our diet through responsible and sustainable techniques, including the tuna subsector.

An overview of the situation

More than 7 million metric tons of tuna and tuna-like species are harvested yearly. These migratory tuna species account for 20 percent of the value of all marine capture fisheries and over 8 percent of all globally traded seafood. With that information in mind, we need to recognize the critical role of tuna in sustainable development, food security, economic opportunity, and the livelihoods of people around the world. Stopping overfishing is of vital importance. Yet, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations notes that market demand for tuna is still high and that the significant overcapacity of tuna fishing fleets remains.

Addressing the decline in tuna stocks resulting from overfishing in the world’s oceans, the UN Legal Counsel emphasizes the critical importance of effectively implementing the international legal framework, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, widely known as UNCLOS, which has been strengthened by the Code of Conduct for Sustainable Fishery, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, recommendations of its Review Conference, annual General Assembly resolutions on sustainable fisheries, as well as other efforts by the international community at the global, regional and national levels.

At present, over 96 countries are involved in the conservation and management of tuna, which has an annual value of almost 10 billion USD, and some FAO relevant programmes have started giving positive results in reducing overfishing.

Let's be optimistic about the tuna of tomorrow.

Did you know?

  • Tuna and tuna-like species include approximately 40 species occurring in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans and in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Tuna species account for 20 percent of the value of all marine capture fisheries and over eight percent of all globally traded seafood.
  • In 2017, among the seven principal tuna species, 33.3 percent of the stocks were estimated to be fished at biologically unsustainable levels.

Country good practices

Sustaining the tuna value chain in Grenada

a row of small, colourful boats at a pier

Related links

Tuna fishing

Between 2014 to 2019, the number of major tuna stocks experiencing overfishing went down from 13 to five. To make this happen, the Common Oceans ABNJ Program brought together scientists and fishery managers to develop sustainable and transparent tuna harvest strategies and processes based on computer simulation exercises. Learn more about the programe.

 

Fisherman in a boat full of fish

The science is clear – the ocean is facing unprecedented threats as a result of human activities. 2022 UN Ocean Conference also looks to science to help propel a new chapter of global ocean action.

illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.