Indian Ocean Longline Tuna Project Launches

Working towards providing sources of sustainable, socially responsible tuna to global markets

Ocean Outcomes (O2) and Fue Shin Fishery Ltd. (FSF) have launched a new project to improve fishery management strategies, environmental oversight, fishing practices and crew welfare on 10 participating Taiwanese and Chinese longline vessels. Collectively, the vessels catch around 1,600 metric tons of Indian Ocean albacore, bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack tunas annually, around half of which supplies markets in the United States (the remaining catch goes to Thailand for processing and then is often exported further).

The project — a newly-minted Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) — will work to address both environmental and social needs in the fishery, towards the goal of achieving Marine Stewardship Council Certification by mid 2028.

“A FIP is by far the most comprehensive strategy to address our environmental, social and governance needs. Some tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean are severely depleted, human rights at sea require more transparency, and RFMOs need to take precautionary measures to preserve marine biodiversity,” said FSF CEO David Huang. “That’s why we’re launching this FIP — to guide us in meeting these challenges and so that we can meet the MSC Fisheries Standard by 2028.”

As part of the work, FSF and O2 will improve quality, verification and provision of participating vessel catch data, better documenting and mitigating interactions with endangered, protected and threatened species. In addition, the teams are assessing social risks against globally recognized best practices and will work to identify and then address any human and labor rights needs on the participating vessels, such as ensuring fair working conditions for vessel crew.

Indian Ocean tuna Participating FIP vessels catch a variety of tuna species, including albacore, bigeye, yellowfin (pictured) and skipjack tunas

“The nature of longline tuna fisheries makes them susceptible to environmental and social challenges, in some cases,” said Ho-Tu Chiang, who leads O2’s tuna work in the region. “It’s great to see companies in Northeast Asia, such as FSF, working to proactively identify and address risks associated with longline fishing.”

Ho-Tu, based in Taiwan, has six years of on the water experience in international affairs and monitoring, control, and surveillance — having worked in the Coast Guard for the Taiwanese government — he is looking forward to helping FSF and their fishing vessels more effectively leverage technology and reporting towards shared sustainability goals.

"Taiwanese tuna and high seas fisheries fleets are major producers of seafood, and with such high production comes a great responsibility to ensure sustainable practices and address the challenges that come with it," added Ho-Tu. "In order to meet sustainable tuna sourcing goals in global supply chains, it is imperative that we work closely with the catching sector in Taiwan to find collaborative solutions to these challenges.”

This project is part of a growing partnership between FSF and O2 — launched last year — in which O2 is helping to develop and implement projects for both FSF Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean tuna fisheries. Unlike any work in the region to date, the projects between the two companies are both working to support environmental and social outcomes.

Learn more about the Fue Shin Fishery Indian Ocean Longline Tuna FIP here.

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