Ahold Delhaize has joined a host of stakeholders worldwide to sign the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration, a proclamation backed by governments, the industry and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), with a goal to stop illegally harvested tuna from coming to market.

The declaration, though not legally binding, is a commitment by 2020 to effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices. It also implements science-based management plans to restore fish stocks. It is endorsed by leaders of the world’s biggest retailers, tuna processors, marketers, traders and harvesters.

Several tuna populations are subject to overfishing or are classified as overfished, making sustainable management an economic and environmental priority. Indeed, though tuna's importance in food webs as predators and prey is difficult to determine, they are known to play a vital role in ocean ecosystems. That makes maintaining their health critically important to marine life and to people who rely on them for food and economic well-being.

In 2014, global landings of the seven most commercially valuable tuna species – skipjack, albacore, bigeye, yellowfin, Atlantic bluefin, Pacific bluefin and southern bluefin – reached 5 million tons, with an estimated dock value of $10 billion (€8.9 million) and an end-product value of over $40 billion (€35.7 billion).

Read more about the declaration here.