Improvements must be made to traditional pole-and-line fishing fisheries practices to ensure the fast-growing demand for this kind of tuna can be met sustainably, founding member of the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) Dr Shiham Adam has told global seafood industry website Fish Information & Services (FIS).
Also the Director General of the Marine Research Centre in the Maldives, Adam spoke at the INFOFISH World Tuna and Trade Conference in Bangkok this week. He highlighted that pole-and-line tuna fishing is vital to many disadvantaged rural areas because it alleviates poverty within fishing communities.
In the Maldives, 30,000 people – a large percentage of the working population – are employed by the tuna industry. The average monthly income is about US$900 compared to the country’s minimum wage of around US$250, he said.
“We will channel our resources to support pole-and-line fisheries to get market access, improve post harvest and quality control, and eventually increase environmental performance of these fisheries so that they may qualify to be sustainably and environmentally certified,” Adam said.
While the livelihood of many pole-and-line fishers is currently in jeopardy, IPNLF has identified that end markets can help, so the Foundation is encouraging buyers to put into practice long-term contracts, facilitate capacity building, knowledge and business literacy transfer.