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Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project

Cost Analysis of Social and Environmental Improvements in Fiji's Longline Albacore Tuna Fishery

Fishing boat out in the blue ocean, with clear blue skies above

Group Members: Samantha (Sam) Kuglen, Kathryn (Katie) Munster, Devon Rossi

Faculty Advisors: Christopher Costello

Client: Conservation International Tuna Program



Final Report

Executive Summary

Final Presentation


Fiji’s domestic longline albacore tuna fishery is an integral part of the country’s economic success but currently faces social and environmental challenges. We examined three interventions aimed to target labor rights abuses, bycatch, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. We evaluated the economic viability of the following interventions across a five-year timeline: (1) raising wages to a living wage; (2) certifying 100% of the Fijian domestic longline fleet to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards; and (3) establishing electronic monitoring on 100% of vessels. We calculated how much is necessary to recover the cost of each intervention, defined as the “cost recovery premium” (CRP). This provides a framework that can inform government and industry partners on the costs to implement sustainability initiatives.

The results show that improvements in the fishery are financially and politically viable. While we initially anticipated that implementing MSC certification, electronic monitoring, and living wage across 100% of the fleet would be too expensive to achieve, our analysis revealed that the total cost of all improvements is within the estimated willingness to pay of tuna market buyers. Insights from this cost analysis can provide traction for the 2022 agreement between the Fijian fishing industry and government to pursue social and environmental sustainability. It is our hope that our metric can also support Conservation International’s efforts to improve sustainable management of neighboring fisheries in the South Pacific, such as New Caledonia, Samoa, and the Cook Islands.


Bren School: Chris Costello, Distinguished Professor; Kelsey Jack, Associate Professor; Cori Lopazanski, PhD Student

Conservation International: Ashley Apel, Seafood Business Partnerships; Juno Fitzpatrick, Director, Human Rights and Oceans; Pablo Obregon, Director, Tuna Program

Conservation International Fiji: Leba Dranivesi, Sustainable Fisheries Program Manager; Bridget Kennedy, Deputy Director, Pacific Ocean and Islands Program; Mere Lakeba, CI Fiji Country Director; Semisi Meo, Senior Program Manager; Jyanti Singh, Oceanic Fisheries Coordinator; Susana Waqainabete-Tuisese, Senior Director, Pacific Region

Environmental Markets Lab (emLab) at UC Santa Barbara: Jennifer Bone, Project Manager and Scientist; Gavin McDonald, Senior Project Scientist; Lennon Thomas, Senior Project Scientist


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