Fisheries scientists in An Evaluation of the Sustainability of Global Tuna Stocks Relative to Marine Stewardship Council Criteria — a March 2023 report commissioned by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) — found that eight out of 23 major commercial tuna stocks worldwide are successfully avoiding overfishing and maintaining target stock biomass levels when measured against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Fisheries Standard.
The eight stocks are Western Atlantic skipjack, North Atlantic albacore, South Atlantic albacore, Eastern Atlantic bluefin, Western Pacific skipjack, Eastern Pacific yellowfin, Eastern Pacific skipjack and Indian Ocean skipjack. These stocks achieved a passing score for the Standard’s Principle 1, “Sustainable Fish Stocks,” which requires fisheries to be conducted in a manner that does not lead to overfishing or depletion of exploited populations. Six of those stocks also have fully implemented well-defined harvest control rules. However, failure to implement controls before rebuilding is required has led to an increasing number of stocks failing to meet minimum requirements on harvest control rules.
Under the Standard’s Principle 3, “Effective Management,” RFMOs scored well overall, with the four tropical tuna RFMOs receiving passing scores. Most tuna RFMOs exhibited similar weaknesses in compliance and enforcement, while other weaknesses varied between RFMOs.
This graphic shows what the average scores based on Principle 1 have been since 2013, and how they have changed over time.
This ISSF position statement focuses on critical measures and issues on which the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) must take action at its 27th Annual Meeting on May 8-12, 2023, which align with ISSF’s priorities for tuna RFMOs.
A French translation of the statement is available.
ISSF in the News