The Global Value of Tuna

Science-based management needed to protect $40 billion industry

The Global Value of Tuna
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Commercial tuna fisheries contribute more than $40 billion to the global economy annually. But even as the combined catch of yellowfin, skipjack, bigeye, albacore, and Atlantic, Pacific, and southern bluefin tuna rose from 2012 to 2018, the end value—the amount paid by final customers—declined. And overfishing has caused the populations of several of these species to fall below sustainable levels.

Two “Netting Billions”reports, published in 2016 and 2020, show the economic importance of tuna fisheries across the world’s ocean. Along with the overall value of the global tuna industry, these reports examined tuna’s worth by region, species, and the gear that commercial vessels use. 

To ensure that the tuna industry remains sustainable and profitable, fisheries managers should modernize regulations by implementing science-based, precautionary harvest strategies, improve oversight and accurate reporting of fishing activities, and ensure that there are consequences for noncompliance with fisheries rules. By protecting tuna, managers will also be protecting marine ecosystems and the industries and communities that depend on healthy stocks for food and livelihoods.

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A Global Tuna Valuation

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High demand for tuna products, however, has significantly depleted several populations, making sustainably managing tunas critically important. One way to support better population management is to improve our understanding of tunas’ importance to the global economy and marine ecosystems.

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Article

Tuna Revenues Fell Despite Increased Catch

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Article

Tunas are among the most commercially valuable fish species on Earth, playing a vital role in healthy ocean ecosystems and supporting livelihoods around the globe. A new report from Pew shows that the constant growth in fishing for tunas worldwide could actually be hurting the industries and communities that depend on them.

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Global Values and Trends for Tuna Fisheries

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Commercial tuna fisheries contribute more than $40 billion to the global economy each year, but high demand for these species has depleted their economic and ecological value. To investigate trends in the catch and value of these fisheries, The Pew Charitable Trusts has published two reports estimating the global values for commercial tuna fisheries targeting seven species.