Thai Union becomes first company to join bycatch reduction pledge

Responsible Seafood Advocate

The company commits to source exclusively from vessels implementing best practices

Kathryn Novak and Adam Brennan with the Protecting Ocean Wildlife pledge. Photo courtesy of Thai Union.

Thai Union, one of the world’s largest seafood companies, has signed the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s Protecting Ocean Wildlife pledge, an initiative to reduce the bycatch of vulnerable marine wildlife in commercial fisheries.

The commitments include identifying fisheries with the highest risk of endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) bycatch and reducing those risks through broad adoption of best practices, 100 percent observer coverage, support of innovation and science, continuous improvement in supply chains and public reporting.

“We are proud to be the first company to sign the pledge, and we urge other seafood companies to join us in this commitment,” said Adam Brennan, group director of sustainability at Thai Union. “It is only through the efforts of the leaders in our industry that we will achieve the results and ultimate goals in protecting and restoring our endangered marine life.”

In March 2023, Thai Union committed to only sourcing from vessels that are implementing best practices to protect ocean wildlife from bycatch. This commitment was based on research by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) on the risks to sharks, seabirds, turtles and other marine wildlife in the fisheries that supply the company, as well as an analysis by Key Traceability of Thai Union’s tuna fishery improvement projects and in the highest risk fisheries that were identified in the audit.

“It’s great that Thai Union is starting the movement, but reducing bycatch in commercial fisheries will only happen if the entire industry adopts this level of commitment,” said Kathryn Novak, SFP’s biodiversity and nature director. “We invite other companies to take the pledge. In fact, we’re setting a goal to get 10 more companies signed on by World Oceans Day in June.”

Thai Union’s “bycatch audit” was undertaken as part of SFP’s Protecting Ocean Wildlife initiative – an international, industry-led effort to address marine wildlife bycatch. SFP conducted a review and assessment of Thai Union’s source fisheries using existing sustainability data to determine risks, overlaps with the company’s key products and where the most impacts can be made to reduce ocean wildlife bycatch.

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