Ecuador adopts National Tuna Action Plan
The Plan aims to adopt clearer strategies for preserving the sustainability and traceability of tuna fish through methods such as the promotion of scientific research and education.
Ecuador’s Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries has issued a new Ministerial Agreement adopting the National Tuna Action Plan (PAN ATUN). This new public policy aims to officially establish more efficient goals and strategies for preserving and certifying the sustainability of industrial tuna fishing. This administrative management tool is said to be key to avoiding the permanent disruption of the life cycles of tuna and other associated species in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
The Plan sets out a number of strategic lines, which include: reducing by-catch; improving environmental impact monitoring and management systems; strengthening the national traceability system; developing environmental education programmes; outreach and communication; promoting scientific research; and institutional reinforcement, in order to better respond to any threats that may affect such a crucial sector for the country’s economy.
“By issuing this Ministerial Agreement, the country once again demonstrates its commitment to the sustainable use of marine resources and to reinforcing strategic areas of the production chain with a view to eliminating illegal fishing. This is the result of coordinated efforts between the country’s fishing authority, tuna guilds, civil society organisations and other players involved in the chain,” said Guillermo Moran, Manager of TUNACONS, a group composed of Ecuador’s five largest tuna companies.
This action is also part of the national government’s efforts to adequately respond to the yellow card warning issued at the end of last year by the European Union regarding fish exports and return to a positive status. To do so, it will strengthen the MSC certification process for FAD-associated and free-school tuna fishing. The certification process is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
The next step will be to develop a public-private partnership to immediately implement the National Tuna Action Plan, which is expected to gain support from civil society organisations such as WWF, as well as other national and international cooperation organisations and institutions.