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Fishery Improvement Project

Hawaii Tuna and Large Pelagics

The Hawaii Seafood Council of Honolulu Hawaii is hosting a fishery improvement project for tuna, swordfish, and the other species of the Hawaii pelagic longline fisheries.

Seafood Products: Bigeye tuna/Thunnus obesus, swordfish/Xiphias gladius, yellowfin tuna/Thunnus albacares, mahimahi/Coryphaena hippurus, albacore tuna/Thunnus alalunga, skipjack tuna/Katsuwonus pelamis, blue marlin/Makaira nigricans, striped marlin/Tetrapturus audax, opah (moonfish)/Lampris regius, sickle pomfret (monchong)/Taractichthys steindachneri.  For more information go to and

Fishing Method: The Hawaii pelagic longline fishery prosecuted in the Western Central Pacific and Eastern Pacific Ocean. The commercial catch includes bigeye tuna, swordfish, yellowfin tuna, mahimahi, albacore tuna, skipjack tuna, blue marlin, striped marlin, opah (moonfish), sickle pomfret (monchong)

For more information also go to How the Fishery Works and


Location: The species are harvested beyond 50 nautical miles (nm) from Hawaii shores in federal waters out to 200 nm from shore, and within international waters outside of 200 nm to a range of about 1000 nm from shore.

Map of the Western Pacific. Red lines denote fishing area.
Map of the Western Pacific. Red lines denote fishing area. Source: 55428-00STATE/INR/GGI

Map of the Western Pacific. Red lines denote fishing area.

Source: and

Purpose of the Project: The project will help Hawaii-based seafood companies demonstrate the sustainability of Hawaii pelagic seafood products to US retailers who require proof of standing against the MSC standard (ex. Sam’s Club).

Activity: In 2006, the Hawaii pelagic longline fishery became the world’s first fishery to be assessed against the comprehensive provisions if the 1995 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries with a compliance score of 93%  The Code of Conduct forms the basis on which the FAO issued Ecolabeling Guidelines. This fishery was used as a model by the FAO as an example of methodologies for applying the Code of Conduct for evaluating fisheries This fishery was reassessed against the Code of Conduct again in 2008 achieving a compliance score of 94%

An MSC pre-assessment of this fishery was completed in 2009, updated in 2013, and redone in 2014. Fisheries stakeholders agreed to complete the activities needed until such time as 80 scores are achieved.

The fisheries’ history of improvements and a current work plan for the project can be found on this site and updated on a regular basis as progress is made. See the Project Work Plan page.


Participants: The Hawaii Seafood Council is a non-profit organization who supports responsible fisheries and sustainable seafood in Hawaii for future generations through consumer education, outreach, and research. It received funding from NOAA for technical assistance in preparation of the content and the website.

The launch of this project is assisted by the Sustainability Incubator ( ) and guided by the credibility criteria of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions ( Feedback and guidance for the FIP were provided by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

FIP Contact:

FIP Activities:
An MSC pre-assessment evaluation was completed in November 2009 on the Hawaii longline fisheries targeting bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) and swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in the Hawaii-US EEZ and in the international waters of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The pre-assessment was performed by TAVEL Certification on behalf of the Hawaii Longline Association and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. The 2013 update and the 2014 MSC pre-assessment for the fisheries were completed by the Sustainability Incubator for the Hawaii Seafood Council.

Background: Why a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP)?

Today’s seafood market values sustainability. Many seafood retailers have made a commitment to procure only sustainable seafood. Often, that means they have a policy that specifies that products must be certified sustainable so that the claim is independent and credible. For wild-caught seafood the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard is the target. For products not-yet-certified seafood buyers may encourage suppliers to take a stepwise approach with a fishery improvement project.

Seafood Ratings: Current Status for above species on Seafood Sustainability

NOAA FishWatch: Status and fishery overview are available at:

Pacific Bigeye Tuna

Pacific Swordfish

FishSource: Search on

Hawaii Longline Bigeye Tuna

Eastern Pacific Bigeye Tuna (all countries)

North Pacific Swordfish

Seafood Watch: Search on

Bigeye Tuna (all countries)

Swordfish (all countries)