The Thailand longtail tuna purse-seine FIP targeting free-swimming fish schools of Longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol) in the Gulf of Thailand aims to meet sustainability criteria for MSC certification and assist the fisheries to better meet international market requirements.
An initial pre-assessment was completed for longtail tuna caught by purse seiners, operating on both the east (Gulf of Thailand) and west (Andaman Sea) coasts of Thailand in May of 2012 (Banks, 2012). This FIP was part of a wider project seeking to improve management of this species and also address labor and social issues in the fishing industry. The FIP was originally initiated with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in 2013, but activities associated with this SIDA funded FIP were suspended in 2015.
A new pre-assessment and associated action plan for longtail tuna was completed in November 2016 (Seilert, 2016) for two Units of Assessment (UoAs); longtail tuna stock in the Gulf of Thailand (GoT) and longtail tuna stock in the Andaman Sea caught by neritic tuna purse seiners (TUNA-PS). Coastal purse seining on tuna in Thailand is divided into 4 types of purse seine fisheries; purse seine fishery utilizing fish aggregating devices (FAD), light luring purse seine fishing (LPS), the Thai purse seine (TPS) and neritic tuna purse seine (TUNA-PS). On average less than 5% of all purse seine catch is comprised of longtail tuna wilt GoT and Andaman Sea fisheries accounting for ~75% and 25% respectively. Neritic tuna purse seiners (TUNA-PS) are the largest purse seine vessels in Thailand (usually over 100 GT) and account for ~92% of all longtail tuna catches in the GoT only around 20% of all longtail tuna catches in the Andaman Sea (MFRDB, 2013).
The results of this new pre-assessment were presented to key Thai stakeholders from industry, government and research agencies in February and April of 2017. Based on previous research using mitochondrial DNA analysis to confirm these are separate stocks (Willette, Santos and Leadbitter, 2016), the allocation of effort by Thai registered fishing vessels and the fleet and fishery characteristics the decision was made to initiate a FIP on the GoT stock only.
This GoT longtail tuna FIP is being facilitated by WWF Thailand, involving partners from the Thailand Department of Fisheries (DoF), the Thai Tuna Industry Association (TTIA) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC). These four organisation signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on May 29th, 2018 declaring their support for finalising the Longtail Tuna FIP Action Plan and committing their respective organisations to implement activities for which they agree to take responsibility as part of the multi-stakeholder consultation process.
A FIP Steering Committee will be established under an agreement, with foundation members being DoF, TTIA, SEAFDEC and WWF. The FIP Steering Committee will serve as a vehicle for key decision-making and cross-sectoral collaboration to achieve FIP sustainability objectives. From time to time, as needed, ad-hoc members will join this committee to provide expert input and assist with specific issues and concerns.
This longtail tuna FIP aims to increase knowledge about and application of international sustainability standards as well as to improve cross-sector collaboration and enhance fishery traceability. This FIP will also advance the implementation of both national and regional conservation and management of longtail tuna, acknowledging catches of tonggol occurs in EEZs of other countries (i.e. Malaysia, Indonesia) often through joint ventures or fishing agreements.
The Thailand longtail tuna purse-seine FIP targeting free-swimming fish schools of Longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol) in the Gulf of Thailand aims to meet sustainability criteria for MSC certification and assist the fisheries to better meet
The objective of this FIP is to achieve a standard necessary for MSC certification by the end of 2024.
FIP at a Glance