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Bermeo provides the backdrop for signing the Global Tuna Cities Sustainability Alliance

The ‘twinned’ cities are Manta (Ecuador), Victoria (Seychelle Islands), Pago Pago (American Samoa), Concarneau (France), General Santos (Philippines), Bermeo (Bizkaia, Spain) and Majuro (Marshall Islands)

Bermeo provided the backdrop for the official signing of the Global Tuna Cities Sustainability Alliance, within the framework of the Bermeo Tuna Forum. It is a framework for collaboration between towns where this protein forms a fundamental part of its economy, society, environment, history, culture and future. It has been signed by the cities of Manta (Ecuador), Victoria (Seychelle Islands), Pago Pago (American Samoa), Concarneau (France), General Santos (Philippines), Bermeo (Bizkaia, Spain) and Majuro (Marshall Islands), whose representatives were not able to attend.

As Marc Bigot, mayor of Concarneau, stated, these are cities that have “grown up around tuna fishing, which forms part of their history.” This explains why “signing the Global Tuna City Alliance today is a great step towards a collaboration framework between local governments, based on better scientific knowledge, to guarantee the sustainability of the resource through responsible operation and management practices,” as Aritz Abaroa, Mayor of Bermeo, stated at this ‘twinning’ event.

“We are worthy of being called Tuna World Capitals. We are aware that there are many cities with close ties to tuna, but by setting up and launching this Alliance, seven of them have already joined us,” he added.

This was a historic moment as the Basque Country provided the stage to seal and make official two international commitments, following their presentation last year in Madrid and Lisbon during the 5th National Tuna Congress and the UN Ocean Conference. This collaboration framework focuses on the need to create synergies between public and private organisations for cooperation through international governance to move forward in ocean sustainability.

Aritz Abaroa: «Signing this declaration is a major step towards a collaboration framework between local governments to guarantee the sustainability of this resource»

These are all cities symbolised by an economy where local companies aim to generate profit and wealth. All this in turn avoids a negative impact on ecosystems and the environment, and also on the health of people working in this value chain. “We are cities which aim to help manage and sustainably develop oceans and the tuna sector throughout its value chain,” highlighted Abaroa.

“We know that there are many more territories all over the world where tuna fishing is a fundamental part of life. Consequently, we aim to keep on adding allies both for this alliance and for the International Tuna Sustainability Declaration,” encouraged the Mayor of Bermeo. In fact, “we are aware that Bangkok, San Diego and the Azores are keen to sign this alliance,” mentioned Ignacio Serrats, president of Bermeo Tuna World Capital (BTWC).

Homage in La Tala Park

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The session finished with a symbolic event in Lamera Park, where a commemorative bench has been dedicated to this Bermeo Tuna Forum, paying homage to the Tuna Cities Alliance which was signed here.

Following the institutional events, participants were treated to a guided tour of the Arroyabe and Campos canning plants in the town which ended in a twinning lunch at Bermeo Casino.