tuna fishing lobbies caught

BLOOM Association claims to have caught tuna fishing lobbies “red-handed” at influencing the official positions of States on tropical tuna

The BLOOM Association claims to have caught tuna fishing lobbies “red-handed” at influencing the official positions of States at a very high level when it comes to the management of tropical tuna fisheries.

In a statement, BLOOM writes:

“We knew it all along and they have just proved it: industrial fishing lobbies influence the official positions of States at a very high level. In two documents published online on 9 April(1) for an international conference on the management of tropical tuna, which makes up a large part of the canned food found in Europe, the European tropical tuna fishing lobbies — Europêche, OPAGAC and ANABAC — were caught red-handed: they forgot to anonymize the latest changes they made to the official position of Seychelles, which entirely favors their own interests.

“With the Seychelles being very much linked to the European tuna industry, this collusion between lobbies and State is anything but surprising. This tropical haven is in fact, above all, a tax haven hosting 13 Spanish vessels, with a tuna processing plant owned by the global giant Thai Union. This plant depends almost exclusively on supplies from French and Spanish vessels, allowing the Seychelles to benefit in return from a customs agreement with the European Union setting taxes at 0%.”

BLOOM believes that it has uncovered institutional corruption. It continues:

“The Europêche pressure group has already been highlighted for its opposition to any environmental ambition in the ranking of the most ecocidal European lobbies.(2) It is its branch “Europêche Tuna Group” that appears to be the most active. As a reminder, the “Europêche Tuna Group” is headed by Anne-France Mattlet, herself the target of a judicial investigation by the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (Parquet national financier) for illegal conflict of interests.(3) Needless to mention that citizens, artisanal or semi-industrial fishers practicing fishing methods more selective than the ‘purse seine’ used by Europeans, have not been invited to co-construct Seychelles’ position in a transparent process.

“These documents are evidence of the lobbies’ modus operandi and their toxic relations with public authorities. It is no longer appropriate to talk about influence, so institutionalized is the corruption. It is rather a question of a deadly co-management between industrialists and institutions, of which the consequences on the world are disastrous. It is precisely because politicians betray their mission of defending the general interest, because they do not maintain a watertight seal between public decision-making and the financial interests of those destroying the world that the climate, biodiversity, and the ocean are collapsing.”

The Fishing Daily has contacted Europêche regarding these allegations from BLOOM on Thursday 27 April 2023, but have not received a response from the organisation.

BLOOM tuna lobbies caught

Screenshot of one of the edits made by the “Europêche Tuna Group” in the document presenting the official position of the Seychelles.

These destructive practices that must stop says BLOOM.

“Tropical tuna fisheries have all the ecological, social and democratic flaws: after having depleted the tuna populations in West Africa, French and Spanish shipowners in the 1980s descended on the Indian Ocean by deploying an unsustainable industrial fishing pressure on the three species of tuna that are targeted there (yellowfin, bigeye, and skipjack). In total, the European fleets catch up to 400 million kilos each year in the Indian Ocean, which are then resold on average for between 1 and 2 euros per kilo depending on the species.(4) Largely encouraged by the substantial public subsidies from which they benefit, these 13 French vessels(5) and 15 Spanish vessels(6) are engaged in a real war on tuna. With overfishing taking place at an extremely fast rate and supported by inevitable technological advancements, fishers have exhausted fish populations in which two out of three are currently in very bad condition.(7)

“Today BLOOM is releasing a groundbreaking report — “Tuna war games” – which for the first time comprehensively traces the history of the high-tech industrial deployment of northern countries in southern waters: a highly-efficient and methodical draining that is pushing marine life to the brink.”



(1) Available at: https://iotc.org/sites/default/files/documents/2023/04/IOTC-2023-S27-Proposals_A_to_R_English_WORD.zip.

(2) See the InfluenceMap report, which gave Europêche an overall grade of E-, half a place from the worst possible grade, held by  oil and mining lobbies. Available at: https://influencemap.org/report/Industry-Associations-Biodiversity-Policy-19612.

(3) https://bloomassociation.org/conflit-dinterets-dans-la-peche-thoniere-le-parquet-national-financier-ouvre-une-enquete/.

(4) Source: data published by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), available at: https://iotc.org/data/datasets/latest/SD/TUNAS.

(5) Including one registered in Italy. In addition to these 13 vessels, there are three vessels under French capital but registered in Mauritius.

(6) In addition to these 15 vessels, there are 13 vessels under Spanish ownership but registered in Seychelles, 1 in Mauritius, 1 in Oman, and 1 in Tanzania.

(7) Both yellowfin and bigeye tuna are overexploited in the Indian Ocean, and bonito is fished well beyond the catch limits agreed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission.

Source: Press Release

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