Unpacking the tuna traceability mosaic – EU SFPAs and the tuna value chain

Andy Thorpe, Oystein Hermansen, Iain Pollard, John Isaksen, Pierre Failler, Grégoire Touron-Gardic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Downloads (Pure)


Traceability has been gaining in importance recently and has seen its potential uses within fisheries expanding from primarily food safety to combat illegal fishing and promote sustainability. In the tuna value chain, key processing actors have introduced comprehensive systems allowing consumers to trace products right back to the vessel that caught the tuna and the catch date. Traceability is also an important component of EU SFPAs (Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements). This paper explains the rationale for the EU entering into SFPAs and shows how the current portfolio of SFPAs exhibits an increasing dependence on access to tuna stocks. Utilizing a unique dataset, we present information on area, method of capture and landing site for EU SFPA vessels. We show that there are economic incentives for vessels to misreport, and clear traceability challenges as vessels fish several species and across several areas (both coastal and in areas beyond national jurisdiction - ABNJ). The tuna value chains in Cabo Verde and the Seychelles are then examined from a traceability perspective. As we report, while an EU catch certificate scheme (CCS) operates to cover all tuna products imported into the EU market, there are flaws in the current system which need remedying.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105037
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date23 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • Tuna fishing
  • Tuna markets
  • Tuna trade
  • Tuna value chain
  • Traceability
  • Catch certificates
  • Sustainable fisheries partnership agreements (SFPA)
  • Sustainable fishing
  • Global seafood market
  • Electronic monitoring
  • IUU fishing


Dive into the research topics of 'Unpacking the tuna traceability mosaic – EU SFPAs and the tuna value chain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this