Skippers workshops have been an important component of our mission. ISSF-sponsored scientists and presenters have hosted more than 100 workshops at major ports on five continents.
Our workshops have attracted more than 4,000 participants, from purse-seine skippers, crew, ship owners and fleet managers to cannery managers, scientists, and government officials. We also have hosted seabird and sea turtle workshops for longline skippers.
ISSF skippers workshops have received support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, and the International Seafood Sustainability Association.
Fishers’ workshop attendance helps tuna vessels — and the companies that purchase, process, trade, or market their tuna — to better meet certain sustainability goals and international market standards.
For ISSF participating companies and vessels on the ProActive Vessel Register, skippers workshop attendance also meets the requirement for ISSF conservation measure 3.4.
Our skippers workshops, which can be customized for a particular fleet’s needs, have covered bycatch prevention strategies — including the use of non-entangling, biodegradable FADs — safe handling-and-release techniques for incidentally caught sharks and sea turtles, and other topics.
ISSF has offered workshops at ports worldwide for skippers as well as ship owners, fishery managers, NGO staff, and local fisheries scientists — including representatives from ISSF participating companies and ProActive Vessel Register vessels. We also have hosted train-the-trainer sessions.
In addition to in-person Skippers Workshops, we offer purse-seine and longline tuna fishers a variety of resources — workshop videos, best-practice demonstration videos, infographics, and posters illustrating bycatch-mitigation techniques. We also explain how skippers can gain certification for completing our workshops .
The fishers and fleets participating in our workshops recognize the short- and long-term importance of maintaining tuna stocks at healthy levels.
They also have committed to help reduce fishing’s environmental impacts — including by using bycatch prevention strategies and best-practice release techniques for incidentally caught sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, and other marine species of conservation concern.
Recent skippers workshops have included discussions on marine litter reduction from FAD fishing, including approaches for FAD retrieval.
We also have hosted biodegradable FAD design workshops, with fishers and scientists in Spain and Ghana brainstorming designs and evaluating natural materials.
Skippers Workshops allow ISSF scientists to benefit from fishers’ knowledge and input on bycatch-mitigation techniques and tools with the best potential to be successfully implemented in tuna fisheries.
In turn, their dialogue helps to shape ISSF’s bycatch research priorities and conservation measures as we continue to advance sustainable fishing practices.
Our workshops give tuna fishers an active role in designing and piloting bycatch solutions that vessels can use to protect non-target species.
Mitigation strategies and techniques are developed with real-world fishing conditions in mind, which increases their effectiveness and fishers’ adoption of best practices.
During the COVID pandemic, we have not hosted in-person Skippers Workshops. But tuna fishers who would like to learn more about bycatch mitigation can view our video versions of the workshops and download other sustainable-fishing resources.
In addition to advocating best practices in fisheries management to RFMOs — through reports, snapshots, and other materials — ISSF develops best-practices resources for fishers, including skippers workshops and guidebooks and an illustrated guide for building Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) that are both non-entangling and biodegradable.