Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs)

ISSF is committed to supporting tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) in following scientific advice to protect and conserve tuna stocks, reduce bycatch, and improve the health of marine ecosystems.

RFMOs have the legal frameworks, geographic scope, and membership to facilitate positive change across global tuna fisheries.

Tuna are highly migratory, swimming through both international waters and waters belonging to many nations. To manage tuna stocks, countries sharing these resources joined together to create RFMOs.

Member nations of these RFMO governing bodies are responsible for setting catch limits, monitoring stock health, and regulating data collection, on-the-water monitoring, and methods to mitigate fishing’s ecosystem impacts, among other issues.


Five RFMOs worldwide oversee tuna fisheries management in their respective ocean regions.

WCPFC – Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is governed by the 1982 Convention and the Agreement (The Law of the Sea and UNFSA) and is responsible for the management of tuna and tuna-like species in the Pacific Ocean west of 150ºW to the north of 4ºS and waters west of 130ºW to the south of 4ºS.

Largest Regional Tuna Catches

The five largest tuna catches in tonnes are Western Pacific Ocean skipjack, Western Pacific Ocean yellowfin, Indian Ocean skipjack, Indian Ocean yellowfin, and Eastern Pacific Ocean skipjack.


Position Statements to RFMOs

Every year, ISSF produces Position Statements for RFMOs in advance of their policy-making meetings — outlining our recommended topics for discussion and priority actions for sustainable fisheries.

RFMO Best Practices Snapshots

As part of our policy and advocacy work, ISSF evaluates tuna RFMOs’ progress in implementing best-practice recommendations. Our “RFMO Best Practices Snapshots” (PDFs) cover compliance processes, IUU vessel listing, transshipment, and other fisheries management topics.

Conservation Measures to Support RFMOs

Several ISSF conservation measures were established specifically to support RFMOs and their regional tuna fleets in following best practices — specifically in vessel registration, listing, and authorization.

RFMO Priorities

ISSF’s science and advocacy experts share concerns and advice for RFMOs in 2023.

RFMO Infographics

In our infographics library, you’ll find original ISSF graphics on key RFMO topics.

Biodegradable FADs Guide

Four tuna RFMOs already require the fleets in their regions that fish with FADs to use only non-entangling FAD designs. Some RFMOs additionally encourage fleets to use biodegradable materials in FADs.

ISSF’s Guide to Non-Entangling & Biodegradable FADs is a resource for RFMOs and fishers transitioning to more sustainable FAD designs.