Key Facts

Key facts

  • Eurothon is the socio-professional organisation of the European Tropical Tuna Fishing and Processing Industry. Our members are the 7 professional organizations of tuna fleet owners and canneries across Europe.
  • Eurothon members fish in the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Tuna is a highly migratory species mostly found in tropical waters.
  • Our members own their fishing vessels, allowing us to impose stringent fishing, quality and safety rules on crews. It contributes to spreading the highest EU standards and rules for sustainable fishing across the globe.

What is tropical tuna?

  • Tuna is a popular and affordable fish, and tuna fishing is one of the most sustainable sources of wild proteins for humans. In comparison to industrial farming, tuna fish are wild species caught in the open sea where they are born and grow.
  • There are 48 different tuna species living in our oceans, but only 3 main species are fished by our European purse seine fleets: skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna. These species are usually referred to as tropical tuna. Albacore tuna, a temperate waters species may sometimes be associated with tropical tuna. Eurothon members do not fish for bluefin tuna.

The European tuna industry & jobs

  • The European tuna industry is an important socio-economic activity in Europe. It consists of two major sectors: the EU tuna fishing sector, whose fleet counts 30 Spanish and 22 French purse seiners, and the processing and canning sector. Both sectors are complementary and interdependent.
  • Our facilities across Europe produce roughly 340,000 tons of canned tuna annually, in over 100 establishments mostly based in four countries: Spain, Italy, France and Portugal. It represents around 50% of EU canned tuna market.
  • The European tuna sector directly provides 20,140 jobs in the EU, and creates 60.660 indirect jobs in supporting sectors.
  • In Europe, we participate in developing economic activity and maintaining crucial jobs in coastal areas, beyond activities such as tourism, leisure or small scale fishing. We are a responsible and viable socio-economic actor in regions, which are sometimes highly dependent on tuna fishing and processing activities.

Fishing rules applies inside and outside EU waters

  • Our sector pursues long-term objectives whether we operate inside or outside EU-waters. We only target tropical tuna stocks which are considered sustainable.
  • Our EU-flagged vessels are bound by EU laws anywhere on the globe. This includes sustainable fishing rules from the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), or obligations and fishing quotas laid down in sustainable fisheries partnership agreements (SFPAs) between the EU and third countries.
  • Our members also abide by the management measures agreed in the Regional tuna Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) of the oceans they fish in. RFMOs have powers to manage fish stocks and fishing activities in each fishing region of the globe. We apply international labour standards and fully respect any relevant local legislation where applicable. Our fleets work in absolute transparent and highly monitored environments.
  • By applying all these rules, our members unreservedly make a difference against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).

Jobs outside the EU & support to local communities

Given that tuna is found in the tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, Eurothon members are large investors in local coastal communities. We are committed to being responsible employers and local actors across the globe, mainly in Latin America and in African ACP countries.

  • In Latin America, close to the large fishing zones in the Pacific, and in African ACP countries, we provide around 9.640 direct jobs and about 30.450 indirect jobs.
  • In Latin America, the main areas of our activity in Latin America are in Guatemala, El Salvador, Ecuador and Panama. In total, there are more than 30 processing sites in Latin America.
  • In African ACP countries, the main areas of our activity are in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Kenya. In total, there are about 15 processing sites in Africa.
  • In addition to employment created by our members, 200,000 people are estimated to be living from tuna fishing and processing activities in Latin America, while the sector as a whole provides a living for about 300,000 people in Africa.
  • Tuna processing and canning in ACP African and Latin American countries contributes to developing value-added activity in these countries.