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New Tuna Fishery Improvement Project to Drive Improvements on Hundreds of Chinese and Chinese Taipei Longline Vessels

Project to expand observer coverage, improve fishery data and help inform science-based management strategies

June 5, 2019 – Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, FCF Fishery Company, Ltd., Clover Leaf Seafoods and Ocean Outcomes have launched a new longline tuna fishery improvement project (FIP) focused on improving fishing practices for approximately 200 Chinese and Chinese Taipei longline albacore and yellowfin tuna fishing vessels in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. A primary focus of the FIP is to improve data collection by increasing electronic observer coverage of vessels over time, with a long-term goal of 100 percent coverage. Expanding observer coverage will help drive the fisheries towards the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard.

“FCF is proud to start working with a large section of the longline industry to improve data, reporting, and bycatch mitigation” said Fong Lee, Sustainability Officer at FCF. “As a leading tuna supplier globally, we’re uniquely positioned to support practical and durable solutions towards sustainable tuna.”

Collectively, FIP vessels catch 15,000 metric tons of albacore and yellowfin tuna annually, much of which is canned and exported to North American markets by Bumble Bee. While the albacore and yellowfin tuna stocks are considered healthy, both stocks are subject to increasing fishing pressure.

Fishery observers currently gather first-hand data on what’s caught and thrown back, as well as interactions with endangered, threatened and protected species. Observers also support compliance with fishing and safety regulations. However, observer coverage is currently occurring in a small subset of longliners. By expanding coverage electronically to participating FIP vessels, Bumble Bee and FIP participants will support effective fisheries management practices through better data collection.

“Longline albacore and yellowfin landed in Fiji are a vital part of Bumble Bee’s supply chain,” says Mike Kraft, Vice President Global Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Bumble Bee Foods. “The FIP team has developed a strong workplan, identifying actions that will move the fishery towards the MSC fisheries standard. We are very excited about this project and we look forward to the challenging work ahead of us.”

The quantitative data and reporting procedures generated by FIP activities will eventually be used to monitor fisheries, assess fish populations, and inform science-based management for target, bycatch and threatened species at the regional level.

Within five years, the FIP will work with the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which oversees the management of tuna regionally, to develop and implement robust and precautionary harvest strategies which are responsive to statuses of target stocks, including best practice harvest control rules to reduce exploitation rate as needed.

“This is not just an exciting development for large-scale improvements towards sustainability in tuna fishing, it’s also a bold and very forward-looking move from FCF and Bumble Bee. Without their commitment to a sustainable future, a project of this scale would not be possible,” added Ross Wanless, Asia Tuna Manager for O2.

This FIP is one of two projects between Bumble Bee, FCF and O2 focused on ensuring sustainable Chinese and Chinese Taipei longline fisheries; the other is in development for longline vessels in the Indian Ocean. The goal of both FIPs is to achieve a certifiable status by mid-2024.


Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, headquartered in San Diego, is North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood company, offering a full line of canned and pouched tuna, salmon, sardine and specialty protein products marketed in the U.S. under leading brands including Bumble Bee®, Brunswick®, Snow’s®, Wild Selections® and Beach Cliff®, and in Canada under the Clover Leaf® brand. Bumble Bee’s mission is to provide healthy and nutritious products and meal solutions that are sourced sustainably. The company actively promotes the responsible stewardship of global fisheries resources and is a founder of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)—a global partnership of scientists, tuna processors and WWF, the global conservation organization.

Clover Leaf Seafoods Company, headquartered in Markham, Ontario Canada, is Canada’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood company that has been providing consumers with nutritious and high quality products since 1871. Under the Clover Leaf®, Brunswick® and Wild Selections® brands, Clover Leaf Seafoods offers a family of canned seafood products that includes tuna, salmon, sardine, snack kits and specialty products such as oysters, mussels, and clams as well as surimi products. At Clover Leaf, we are committed to improving our consumers’ quality of life by providing sustainable, nutritious, convenient and affordable seafood products. Along with our sister company Bumble Bee Foods, Clover Leaf is working actively to support ISSF and promote MSC standards.

FCF Fishery Company, Ltd. (FCF) is one of the world’s largest marine products integrated supply chain service provider companies specializing in tuna. An industry leader in sustainability and traceability, and FAD-free fishing policy, FCF works closely with governments and non-governing organizations to ensure the environmental sustainability of tuna stock and marine life products around the globe.

Ocean Outcomes (O2) is an international organization which works with local communities, fisheries, and the seafood industry to improve the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture operations.

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A note from our CEO about COVID-19x
Bumble Bee Seafood Logo

The coronavirus has changed life, as we knew it, forever. Most people will be touched in some way by the pandemic either physically, emotionally or financially. We’ve all heard heart-breaking stories from around the world about lives that have been lost and severe financial hardships caused by the sudden shutdown of so many businesses.

On behalf of all our team members around the globe, we extend our deepest sympathies to all that are struggling through personal challenges, whatever they may be, and we offer our sincerest gratitude to all the heroes who are helping those in need.

We’d also like to add how important it is for everyone to continue to do their part to slow the spread. Physical distancing is critical, and we must all take this seriously. We use the word “physical” because staying away from people in a physical way does not mean we should be neglecting the importance of social interactions, compassion and patience.

We are one of the largest providers of shelf-stable seafood and it is our honor and our responsibility to do our part, in every way we can, to help to keep people fed with affordable, nutritious protein. To that end, we’re continuing to run our factories in the US and Canada while our partners around the world continue to provide supply.

We take great pride in being a “people-first” company, so our decision to continue operations is done with utmost concern for the people making it possible. We’ve enhanced our safety measures to meet or exceed CDC guidelines and we have increased wages in our factories to assist employees dealing with the incremental costs of working and new, unexpected demands on their households.

We also take great pride in producing healthy, nutritious and safe products for our customers. Please know the manufacturing practices we follow year-round protect our both employees and the products they produce. Our facilities have very few people-to-product interactions, all products are sterilized in a high temperature oven and then packaged in highly automated production lines.

Beyond Bumble Bee, we’re continually looking for ways to extend our “people first” approach to make a meaningful impact. With so many people in need, we know this effort is more important than ever. We’re starting by donating more than $1 million in product to food banks in both the US and in Canada. And we will be looking for more opportunities to make a positive difference in the days to come.

Finally, I want to thank you, our loyal and new customers, for your support. We hope you find the recipes on our website helpful and easy to prepare. I also want to send a sincere thank you to our Bumble Bee Team and our valued supply partners around the world for their tireless efforts, particularly those working in sales, manufacturing, distribution and all our support roles, ensuring we can keep store and pantry shelves stocked.

Please continue to do your part to keep yourselves and your families safe during this truly unprecedented time.

With Gratitude,
CEO, Bumble Bee Seafoods