The Sustainable Tuna Partnership (STP) Project is a multi-stakeholder / multi-actor partnership (MAP)-driven project to connect the diverse stakeholders along the value chain, as well as those within decision-making platforms at the local, sub-national, and national levels.

Tambuyog Development Center has joined the project in 2017 as co-proponent, with WWF-Philippines as lead,  in cooperation with WWF Germany.

The said project was implemented in yellowfin tuna handline fisheries in Mindoro Strait and Lagonoy Gulf. The goal has always been two-fold: to enhance the sustainable management of the fisheries while improving the livelihoods of the fishers and their households. 

Currently, as a follow-up phase of the Sustainable Tuna Partnership, STP Phase 2 broadens the scope to include aspects of tuna stock management at regional level through the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCFPC), the regional fisheries management organization that oversees the Western Central Pacific Ocean. Through this broader scope, the project seeks to establish measures that will ensure the sustainable management of yellowfin tuna, while maintaining relevant aspects of the former project.

The project's objective of improving governance at the local, national and regional levels is aligned with the small tuna handliners’ interest in securing the yellowfin tuna resource in the long term, as sustainable fisheries management in the Western and Central Pacific would maintain yellowfin tuna at healthy levels and prevent overfishing. 

The project is designed to respond and contribute to relevant global conservation and development goals, including: 1) the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries and the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land; 2) Ten-Point Action Plan of the BMZ (Action 2, 3, 4); and the SDGs specifically, Sustainable Development Goal 1 on ending poverty (1.4. Provide poorer people with equal rights to economic resources, secure access to basic services, ownership and control over land and natural resources, appropriate new technologies and financial services) and Goal 5 on “gender equality” (5.5. Full and effective participation of women) and Goal 14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (here in particular Goal 14.4 to ensure sustainable management, 14.6 to end illegal fishing and harmful subsidies, and 14.b to provide small-scale artisanal fishers with access to marine resources and markets). It also makes an important contribution to SDG 17, building partnerships to achieve the SDG targets.

Facilitating pilot projects and knowledge sharing on best practices, as well as targeted communication and advocacy strategies that illustrate the benefits of a better regulated and managed yellowfin tuna fishery, will change the mindset of stakeholders and decision makers in key member states China, Philippines and Indonesia to support the further development of Harvest Strategies (HS) and Harvest Control Rules (HCR) for yellowfin tuna at the WCPFC. Strengthening MSP dialogue structures and presenting economic and social case studies in the Philippines will improve collaboration among stakeholders and motivate greater transparency and investment to improve compliance and equity in yellowfin tuna fisheries at the national level and in project areas. In addition, strengthened fisheries governance, data availability, compliance, and empowerment of handline fishers and their organizations will maintain MSC certification and enable long-term access to the yellowfin tuna resource and to high-value markets.

By strengthening the capacity of fishing households to effectively represent their interests in relevant organizations, they will improve their bargaining position vis-à-vis other actors in the supply chain. Together with increased access to finance and improved disaster preparedness, households will be able to increase their income and savings, making them more resilient to poverty. By achieving the above objectives, the project will increase the resilience of handline fishers in the project region to poverty and disasters (outcome). 

The STP2 Project will benefit directly around 500 members of fishing households in the coastal areas of Lagonoy Gulf and Mindoro Strait. It also includes about 2,500 members of the tuna fishing associations, chairpersons and representatives of 26 small-scale fishers' organizations and 21 women's savings groups will. Another 2,500 handline fishers in the project areas will benefit indirectly. Also involved in the project are the municipal and integrated Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (IFARMCs), Local Government Units (LGUs), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and other national government agencies in the Philippines, China and Indonesia, as well as scientists and supply chain actors.

Partnering with the WWF to ensure engagement in sustainable fisheries management and keep the benefits from these efforts more efficiently, the Tambuyog Development Center shall assist in the empowerment and capacity development of the partner tuna fishers and organizations. As such, capacity building in organizational and business development will be enjoyed by the Tuna Fishers Associations (TFAs) and federations, cooperatives, and MSC client groups, with trainings on how to better manage their organizations and their business initiatives, as well as coaching and mentoring on how to lead each organization. This will enable TFAs and associations to develop mechanisms to become self-sustaining, expand their advocacy efforts, and provide more support to their members. Similarly, existing cooperatives will be guided to better position themselves in the market, engage industry players for sustainable business development (including building partnerships with established buyers, e.g. restaurants, hotels, processors) and develop services for their members.