SPAIN : The Spanish tuna fleet grouped in the Organization of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna (OPAGAC) has joined the United Nations Global Compact, becoming the first fleet in the country to join this initiative, integrating within its activity the 10 basic principles contemplated in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. This pact is the most important voluntary corporate social responsibility initiative in the world, with more than 13,000 participants from 170 countries.
As a new partner, OPAGAC will develop an intense activity to promote and push the fight against illegal fishing, not only to defend the sustainable use of the oceans and their resources, but also against the flagrant violation of human rights - slavery on board, traffic of people or child labor exploitation - mainly by Asian fleets.
In this sense, the Spanish fleet already contributes since 2016 with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN and, specifically, with Objectives 8, 12, 14, 16 and 17, which refer, respectively, to growth, inclusion and decent work; responsible production and consumption; sustainable use of oceans and their resources and sustainable management of fisheries; fight against corruption and bribery; and search for alliances to achieve the SDGs. The UN wants these Goals to be achieved in the year 2030.
The tuna fleet, responsible for 8 percent of the global catches of tropical tuna, is aligned with Objectives 8 and 12 thanks to its standard Responsible Fishing Tuna (APR), a world benchmark for good fishing practices because it is the only one that contemplates, voluntarily and beyond the legal requirements, the labor and social conditions on board based on Convention 188 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the best Maritime Safety standards of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in application of the Agreement of Cape Town and the STCW-F Convention (Standards for Training, Certification and Surveillance for Fisheries).
For its part, and in line with SDG 14, OPAGAC promotes the sustainable management of long-term tropical tuna stocks in the three oceans in which it operates, as well as reducing the environmental impact of its activity on the marine ecosystem, through its Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP).
Launched in 2016 in collaboration with WWF, this FIP is the first initiative in the world to comprehensively address sustainable management of tropical tuna. The initiative includes a Code of Good Practice that contemplates the use of non-entangling and biodegradable FAD (fish concentrating devices); Observer coverage on 100% of their boats, promoting the use of electronic observer; and training crews to reduce bycatch and free non-target species, minimizing the impact on the marine ecosystem.
Regarding SDG 16, OPAGAC promotes, since 2010, the Tuna Transparency Initiative, materialized after amending the 2008 community regulations in favor of a new regulation that ensures the sustainable management of European fleets with fisheries agreements with third countries, as well as the Protocol signed between the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA) and the General Secretariat of Fisheries of Spain, in 2014, to control the unloading of foreign vessels in Spanish ports. With this agreement, the control system of these vessels is equated to the one that the Government of Spain obliges to its own fleet: VMS transmission, logbook, fishing licenses and landing declaration.
Finally, it should be noted that, as a member of the agreement, OPAGAC undertakes to publish biannually its progress regarding compliance with the SDGs on the website of the UN Global Compact.