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New pole & line organisation launched

03 Apr 2012
Launch of new not-for-profit organisation to support deprived tuna fishing communities. ©Paul Hilton/Greenpeace

Launch of new not-for-profit organisation to support deprived tuna fishing communities. ©Paul Hilton/Greenpeace

A new organisation has been launched to ensure the fast growing demand for pole-and-line caught tuna can be met without compromising the sustainability of the fisheries.

The not-for-profit International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) was founded to help pole-and-line fisheries increase the market share of their product. Despite being regarded as the most sustainable method of catching tuna, most pole-and-line fisheries are small scale and are increasingly finding it difficult to survive in an industry that is dominated by heavy industrial fishing.

IPNLF believes these fisheries can be rehabilitated back to health and entire fishing communities strengthened by increasing the market potential of their tuna caught using the traditional pole-and-line method. The Foundation’s view is that this requires minor capital investment and would provide much-needed employment opportunities as pole-and-line fishing is more labour-intensive than large-scale industrial fishing.

Andrew Bassford, IPNLF co-founder, said: “The global market demand for pole-and-line caught tuna is soaring as a direct result of environmental organisations increasing consumer awareness of sustainability issues. Unfortunately, many small fisheries often lack the knowledge and infrastructure to gain access to the global market. Therefore, adequate co-ordination of the market development of sustainable and equitable pole-and-line tuna is not just an opportunity, it has now become a necessity. If there is no proper management determining how the supply can be increased in a sustainable way, the increased demand will surely add to the problem of overcapacity in tuna fisheries.

“Until now there hasn’t been an institution to ensure good co-ordination; there has also been no-one improving bait fishery management, safety at sea, fuel efficiency and so on. The IPNLF will fill this much needed void.”

IPNLF believes the logical starting points for its work are the Maldives and Indonesia – two extremely important tuna producing regions. The Foundation has already opened a branch office in the Maldives and another will be opened in Indonesia in 2013. It will then expand its work to Brazil, Ghana, Japan, Mexico, Mozambique, Philippines, Senegal, India, USA, southern Europe and small island states in the Pacific region.

The commercial benefit for brands and retailers to support IPNLF and pole-and-line fishing is that they will be able to better manage their brand security and development by gaining access to these sustainable tuna resources. IPNLF will help these commercial stakeholders work together with these regions and fishing communities on establishing a product that meets their consumer requirements as well as their own seafood category growth expectations.

And the benefit for the consumer is that they will be given the choice to buy safe, sustainable products that contribute to improving the health of marine ecosystems as well as the livelihoods of struggling fishing communities.

Representatives from the Foundation will be at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, Belgium, 24-26 April, and the 12th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade & Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, 23-25 May.

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Launch of new not-for-profit organisation to support deprived tuna fishing communities. ©Paul Hilton/Greenpeace

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