Author: Sharon Tomasic

ICYMI: Latest ISSF Conservation Measures & Commitments Report Shows 100% Conformance

Featured News

ISSF Participating Companies Achieve Full Compliance with 30 Science-Based ISSF Conservation Measures

ISSF released its sixth annual Update to ISSF Conservation Measures & Commitments Compliance Report in November 2021, and it shows a conformance rate of 100 percent by ISSF participating companies with all 30 ISSF conservation measures in effect. Following the remediation period, all companies were fully compliant with all 30 measures audited. 

As part of its commitment to foster transparency and accountability in the fishing industry, ISSF engages third-party auditor MRAG Americas to assess ISSF participating seafood companies’ compliance with ISSF conservation measures according to a rigorous audit protocol.

“Since we began our compliance and audit process for ISSF participating companies in 2015, we’ve seen the conformance rate improve nearly every year,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “We are especially proud to see consistently strong compliance from these seafood companies even as we have continued to expand our conservation measures — from 21 initially to 30 today — and raise the bar for them to reach.” 

Read more

 

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Our Audit Process

As part of their commitment to improve the sustainability of tuna fisheries, ISSF participating companies agree to be audited annually on their conformance with ISSF conservation measures.

Learn more

 

Featured Graphic

Aggregate Company Compliance Over Time

Our “Change Over Time” graphic tracks the percentage of ISSF participating companies that are in conformance, minor non-conformance, or major non-conformance with ISSF conservation measures. This graphic tracks compliance based on data published in the Conservation Measures & Commitments Compliance Reports.

Learn more

 

ISSF in the News

122 Organizations Transforming Food Systems in 2022
Foodtank 

Area-based management of blue water fisheries: Current knowledge and research needs
Fish and Fisheries

Multiple Pacific tuna fisheries face certification loss by 2023, MSC warns
Undercurrent News

The Year in Tuna Fisheries Management; 2021 RFMO Outcomes

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Reviewing RFMO Outcomes in 2021 

At the start of the year, ISSF President Susan Jackson issued a call-to-action to the world’s tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs): 

“RFMOs, tuna managers, scientists, and other stakeholders begin 2021 with almost one year of virtual information-sharing and decision-making experience under our belts. We can meet virtually without settling for minimum action — and stalling sustainability progress. In 2021, RFMOs must do better.” 

How did RFMOs answer this appeal — one shared by many global stakeholders? Here we present a roundup of ISSF responses to the year’s meetings, including a special session the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) held this month.
   

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)
Pacific Ocean Fisheries Managers Take Important Steps on FAD Management, But Delay Needed Action on Harvest Strategies to 2022
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International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)
ISSF Assesses ICCAT Annual Meeting: Extended Tropical Tuna Measure and Progress on Electronic Monitoring Among Positive Meeting Outcomes 
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Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC)
Progress for Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuna Fisheries: Protections, Monitoring for Tuna Stocks and Improved FAD Management 
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Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)
Minimal Progress for the Protection of Indian Ocean Tuna Stocks
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Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)
FAD Management for Indian Ocean Tuna Fisheries; ISSF Response to IOTC Session

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Mixed Results at WCPFC

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Pacific Ocean fisheries managers take important steps on FAD management, but delay needed action on harvest strategies to 2022                          

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) recently wrapped up a longer-than-usual annual meeting — one with important stakes for tuna stocks in the region. Prior to the gathering, ISSF issued a position statement outlining our organization’s top priorities for the Commission in 2021. Here is a summary of both the hits and the misses at the conclusion of the meeting. 

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Featured Reports

From Minimum Standards for Inspector Training to Advance Notice of Port Entry, Report Identifies IUU-Mitigation Gaps and Opportunities

ISSF’s report ISSF 2021-09: Port State Measures in Tuna RFMOs: Benchmarking RFMO Port State Measures Against the 2009 FAO PSMA and Identifying Gaps evaluates how well the port-State measures established by tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) follow an overarching international standard enacted to deter illegal, unreported, and unreported (IUU) fishing.

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Tuna RFMO Compliance Assessment Processes: A Comparative Analysis to Identify Best Practices

Each tuna regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) has an annual mechanism to monitor and assess the compliance of members, and in some cases cooperating non-members (CNMs), with their obligations under the RFMO convention and its conservation and management measures.

This technical report — updated in April 2021 — examines each of these tuna RFMO compliance mechanisms with respect to the range of obligations and commitments that are assessed, the current operational conditions of each compliance assessment process, what tools are available to respond to instances of non-compliance, and the public availability of information about the level of compliance of RFMO members or CNMs and their actions to address areas of identified non-compliance.

Read the report

ISSF in the News

Area-based management of blue water fisheries: Current knowledge and research needs
Fish and Fisheries

IOTC fails to resolve vote dispute, again
Seafood Source

FAD Management for Indian Ocean Tuna Fisheries; ISSF Response to IOTC Session

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ISSF Disappointed by Lack of Agreement on FAD Management at Indian Ocean Tuna Commission

“We are disappointed that IOTC could not agree on revisions to improve its FAD management resolution this year, delaying progress on this critical issue until the 2022 Commission meeting,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “ISSF recognizes the importance of voting procedures as a tool for the RFMO decision-making process. Still, we strongly encourage all IOTC members to engage in collaborative discussions in the lead up to the 2022 annual meeting.

“Only through such ongoing communication can IOTC reach an agreement to strengthen FAD management that will be supported and effectively implemented by all parties.”

Read the full statement  

 

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ICYMI: 87.7% of Global Tuna Catch Comes from Stocks at Healthy Levels

Of the total commercial tuna catch worldwide, 87.7% of the global catch comes from stocks at “healthy” levels of abundance, according to the latest International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) Status of the Stocks report. In addition, 9.6% of the total tuna catch came from overfished stocks, and 2.7% came from stocks at an intermediate level of abundance.

ISSF publishes its signature Status of the Stocks report twice each year using the most current scientific data on 23 major commercial tuna stocks. 

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ISSF in the News

ISSF’s Susan Jackson: Tuna stock-rebuilding efforts are working
Seafood Source

ISSF content with ICCAT outcomes, while Europeche left frustrated 
Undercurrent News

WCPFC faces test as expiration date nears for tropical tuna measure 
Seafood Source

ISSF tuna companies achieve full compliance with conservation measures
Undercurrent News

ISSF Disappointed by Lack of Agreement on FAD Management at Indian Ocean Tuna Commission

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) recently concluded a special meeting to consider amending its resolution 19/02 on the management of fish aggregating devices (FADs) — a resolution that was not adopted at the IOTC annual meeting in June 2021 due to lack of clarity and irregularities in the voting procedures. 

In a position statement issued before the IOTC annual meeting, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) called for: progress on science-based limits on FAD deployments and/or FAD sets; the development of FAD marking guidelines and FAD tracking and recovery policies; requiring the use of biodegradable materials in the construction of FADs, and establishing a timeline for transitioning to 100% biodegradable FADs.

Despite multiple opportunities to address the matter — first, at their annual meeting in June 2021 and again at a special meeting held November 29, 2021 — the Commission was unable to adopt amendments to strengthen its FAD management resolution.

“We are disappointed that IOTC could not agree on revisions to improve its FAD management resolution this year, delaying progress on this critical issue until the 2022 Commission meeting,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “ISSF recognizes the importance of voting procedures as a tool for the RFMO decision-making process. Still, we strongly encourage all IOTC members to engage in collaborative discussions in the lead up to the 2022 annual meeting.

“Only through such ongoing communication can IOTC reach an agreement to strengthen FAD management that will be supported and effectively implemented by all parties,” Jackson continued. “ISSF will continue to engage in advocacy on these and other Indian Ocean tuna sustainability priorities in the New Year.”

 

WCPFC Position Statement

ISSF has published its position statement in advance of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s (WCPFC) annual meeting from November 29 to December 7, 2021, which will take place virtually. ISSF is advocating for continued strong protections for bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna stocks; upgraded requirements related to the management and use of fish aggregating devices (FADs); accelerated development of harvest strategies; and more. 

“The current tuna conservation measure that protects tropical tuna stocks in the region expires in February 2022, and we agree with the WCPFC Scientific Committee that these protections must remain in place to ensure that fishing mortality does not increase,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “These protections are necessary until the Commission adopts comprehensive harvest strategies, including appropriate target reference points. The WCPFC’s annual meeting must adopt a new and robust tuna conservation measure to prevent the possibility of overexploitation while harvest strategies are put in place.” 

ISSF Top Priorities for WCPFC

  • Adopt an enforceable tropical tuna conservation measure for all fleets that limits fishing mortality for bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack while removing ambiguities and exemptions.
  • Adopt a work plan for FADs with a timeframe to transition to FADs without nets and made primarily with biodegradable materials; develop recovery policies, a marking scheme and ownership rules; and require submission of FAD position and acoustic data.
  • To meet the June 2023 Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) deadline for harvest strategy conditions, adopt target reference points for bigeye and yellowfin; create a list of candidate management procedures for skipjack & albacore; and establish a scientist/manager dialogue group.
  • Adopt a conservation measure for an electronic monitoring program and minimum standards for the use of electronic monitoring in WCPFC fisheries.
  • Accelerate the remaining work to reform the at-sea transshipment conservation measure and the compliance monitoring scheme.

Read the full WCPFC Position Statement

 

ISSF: WCPFC Has an Opportunity to Adopt New Bigeye, Yellowfin and Skipjack Tuna Conservation Measures for Western and Central Pacific Fisheries

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has published its position statement in advance of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s (WCPFC) annual meeting from November 29 to December 7, 2021, which will take place virtually. ISSF is advocating for continued strong protections for bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna stocks; upgraded requirements related to the management and use of fish aggregating devices (FADs); accelerated development of harvest strategies; and more. 

“The current tuna conservation measure that protects tropical tuna stocks in the region expires in February 2022, and we agree with the WCPFC Scientific Committee that these protections must remain in place to ensure that fishing mortality does not increase,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “These protections are necessary until the Commission adopts comprehensive harvest strategies, including appropriate target reference points. The WCPFC’s annual meeting must adopt a new and robust tuna conservation measure to prevent the possibility of overexploitation while harvest strategies are put in place.” 

Read about our top #sustainable #fishing priorities for the #WCPFC annual meeting next week. Click To Tweet

ISSF Top Priorities for WCPFC

  • Adopt an enforceable tropical tuna conservation measure for all fleets that limits fishing mortality for bigeye, yellowfin and skipjack while removing ambiguities and exemptions.
  • Adopt a work plan for FADs with a timeframe to transition to FADs without nets and made primarily with biodegradable materials; develop recovery policies, a marking scheme and ownership rules; and require submission of FAD position and acoustic data.
  • To meet the June 2023 Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) deadline for harvest strategy conditions, adopt target reference points for bigeye and yellowfin; create a list of candidate management procedures for skipjack & albacore; and establish a scientist/manager dialogue group.
  • Adopt a conservation measure for an electronic monitoring program and minimum standards for the use of electronic monitoring in WCPFC fisheries.
  • Accelerate the remaining work to reform the at-sea transshipment conservation measure and the compliance monitoring scheme.

Jackson added, “Additionally, WCPFC must act and adopt a work plan for transitioning to FADs without nets and made primarily with biodegradable materials; make progress on electronic monitoring, as the pandemic has severely impacted observer coverage; and implement stronger rules for at-sea transshipment to guard against illegal fishing among the growing number of high seas transshipment events in the region.” 

Read the full WCPFC Position Statement on the new ISSF website.

ISSF Global Priorities for Tuna RFMOs

ISSF is committed to advocating for science-based approaches, policies and conservation measures to advance tuna fisheries sustainability. Here are ISSF’s Global Priorities for four Tuna RFMOs — the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC):

  • Implementation of rigorous management procedures, including harvest control rules and reference points
  • Effective management of fleet capacity, including developing mechanisms that support developing coastal state engagement in the fishery
  • Science-based FAD management & non-entangling and biodegradable FAD designs
  • Increased member compliance with all adopted measures, and greater transparency of processes reviewing member compliance with measures
  • Strengthened monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) measures and increased observer coverage, including through modern technologies such as electronic monitoring and e-reporting
  • Adoption of best-practice bycatch mitigation and shark conservation and management measures

NEW: Update to ISSF Conservation Measures & Commitments Report Latest Report Shows 100% Conformance Rate

Featured News

ISSF Participating Tuna Companies Achieve Full Compliance with 30 Science-Based ISSF Conservation Measures

ISSF has released its sixth annual Update to ISSF Conservation Measures & Commitments Compliance Report, which shows a conformance rate of 100 percent by 26 ISSF participating companies with all 30 ISSF conservation measures in effect. Following the remediation period, all 26 companies were fully compliant with all 30 measures audited. 

As part of its commitment to foster transparency and accountability in the fishing industry, ISSF engages third-party auditor MRAG Americas to assess ISSF participating seafood companies’ compliance with ISSF conservation measures according to a rigorous audit protocol.

“Since we began our compliance and audit process for ISSF participating companies in 2015, we’ve seen the conformance rate improve nearly every year, a heartening indication of industry’s growing openness to scrutiny and science-backed conservation efforts,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “We are especially proud to see consistently strong compliance from these seafood companies even as we have continued to expand our conservation measures — from 21 initially to 30 today — and raise the bar for them to reach.” 

Read more

Featured Content

Our Audit Process

As part of their commitment to improve the sustainability of tuna fisheries, ISSF participating companies agree to be audited annually on their conformance with ISSF conservation measures.

Learn more

Featured Graphic

Aggregate Participating Company Compliance Over Time

Our “Change Over Time” graphic tracks the percentage of ISSF participating companies that are in conformance, minor non-conformance, or major non-conformance with ISSF conservation measures. This graphic tracks compliance based on data published in the our Conservation Measures & Commitments Compliance Reports.

Featured Video

From global tuna stock data to fisheries improvement and best practices, the refreshed ISSF website offers data-rich resources for every tuna sustainability stakeholder.

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