close up of tuna swimming in the ocean

Project

Global Tuna Conservation

Tuna are the most commercially valuable fish on Earth and are vital players in healthy ocean ecosystems.

Four species of tuna—bluefin, bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack—account for at least $42 billion of the $150 billion annual global seafood trade, support millions of jobs, and help ensure food security for some 3 billion people.

But those four species are also in trouble. Heavy fishing has driven the Pacific bluefin population down to a mere 4 percent of what it once was. The widespread use of fish aggregating devices—rafts of material that attract schools of fish—has led to an alarming increase in the catch of juvenile tuna, jeopardizing the chances that some stocks can recover.

This situation is the result of decades of overfishing and mismanagement exacerbated by illegal fishing, which is rampant in some regions. With the huge global demand for tuna, governments and fisheries management bodies must act now to reverse these species’ decline.

Pew is working to improve the international management of tuna species by:

  • Promoting science-based catch limits that do not allow overfishing.
  • Minimizing the impacts of destructive fishing gears.
  • Eliminating illegal fishing.
  • Increasing the transparency and accountability of tuna regional fisheries management organizations.
Atlantic tuna
Atlantic tuna
Issue Brief

The Story of Atlantic Bigeye Tuna

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Issue Brief

Everything that Atlantic bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) do, they do with speed. These tuna reach sexual maturity in just two to three years and can grow in that time from small enough to swim through the eye of a needle to more than 400 pounds. They are formidable predators with the ability to outmaneuver, outswim, and eat just about anything that they can fit in their mouths. Their considerable size, however, makes them primary targets for tuna fishing fleets around the world.

Tuna
Tuna
Fact Sheet

Additional FAD Management Measures Needed in International Fisheries

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Fact Sheet

Additional FAD Management Measures Needed in International Fisheries

Tuna fishermen around the world use fish aggregating devices (FADs)—man-made floating objects that many species gather beneath—to increase their catch. However, these devices also lead to large amounts of bycatch and often become marine debris, in large part because the international organizations that regulate these fisheries have limited FAD management measures in place.

Tuna
Tuna
Article

Harvest Strategies

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Article

A novel approach, known as “harvest strategies” or “management procedures,” is emerging as the next innovation in fisheries management. 

Tuna ship
Tuna ship
Article

Global Transshipment

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Article

Transshipment, the transfer of fish or other marine wildlife between a fishing vessel and a carrier vessel at sea or in port, is an important part of the global commercial fishing industry. Valuable tuna species, mackerel, and crabs are among the freshly caught seafood transshipped each day in order to shorten the time it takes to get the fish from the sea to the store. 

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