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Each year, we identify priority actions for tropical-tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) to take to improve fishery sustainability in their regions.

To shape RFMO discussion and decision-making, ISSF’s science and advocacy experts have outlined their concerns and advice below. Our position statements — which we disseminate ahead of RFMO annual meetings and special sessions — explore and expand on these priority topics.

  • INTER-AMERICAN TROPICAL TUNA COMMISSION

    2024 Priorities

    IATTC must adopt a new multi-year precautionary tuna measure, based on the latest scientific advice, including additional, strengthened FAD management. The Commission must also adopt interim electronic monitoring program standards and a timeline for implementation.

    • FAD Management: Strengthened FAD management measures and provisions
    • Harvest Strategies: Accelerate adoption and implementation of comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategies
    • Electronic Monitoring/Electronic Reporting & Observer Coverage: Adopt electronic monitoring (EM) standards for implementation and fully embrace use of these monitoring and compliance tools

    COMPLIANCE

    • Strengthen IATTC compliance processes and ensure robust and transparent assessment of IATTC member accountability

    TUNA STOCKS

    • Adopt a new multi-year precautionary tuna conservation and management measure, based on the latest scientific advice, including additional, strengthened FAD management measures

    HARVEST STRATEGIES:
    Accelerate adoption and implementation of comprehensive, precautionary harvest strategies.

    • Accelerate work on, and the adoption and implementation of, robust tuna management procedures, for all tuna stocks, and establish and convene a scientist-manager dialogue group

    FAD MANAGEMENT:
    Strengthened FAD management provisions

    • Develop and implement science-based limits on FAD deployments and/or FAD sets
    • Develop and adopt fully transparent FAD-recovery policy
    • Develop and adopt FAD marking scheme, requiring marking of buoy and FAD structure
    • Adopt clearer rules for FAD ownership and stronger rules for FAD buoy activation and deactivation

    ELECTRONIC MONITORING/ELECTRONIC REPORTING & OBSERVER COVERAGE:
    More fully embrace use of these monitoring and compliance tools

    • Adopt in 2024 interim electronic monitoring program standards and a timeline for implementation beginning by 2025
    • Adopt measures to progressively increase observer coverage (human and/or electronic) on longline vessels from 5% so to make progress toward 100% coverage in industrial tuna fisheries, including all those vessels engaged in at sea transshipment
    • Establish a fleet-wide observer program (either human or electronic or a combination) for small purse seine vessels

  • INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF ATLANTIC TUNAS

    2024 Priorities

    ICCAT must revise its tropical tuna conservation measure to:

    • Ensure that bigeye and yellowfin catches are maintained at sustainable levels
    • Fully allocate total allowable catch (TAC) for bigeye and yellowfin
    • Establish a timeline for transition to biodegradable FADs
    • Include the definition of “biodegradable” categories
    • FAD Management: Strengthened FAD management measures and provisions
    • Electronic Monitoring/Electronic Reporting & Observer Coverage: More fully embrace use of these monitoring and compliance tools
    • Harvest strategies: Accelerate work on and adoption of robust harvest strategies for all tropical tunas

    COMPLIANCE

    • Strengthen ICCAT compliance processes and ensure robust and transparent assessment of ICCAT member accountability

    TROPICAL TUNA MEASURE:
    Revised recommendation for tropical tuna conservation and management measure that:

    • Ensures that the bigeye and yellowfin catches are maintained at sustainable levels, in accordance with the ICCAT SCRS advice
    • Fully allocates the TACs for bigeye and yellowfin
    • Includes the definition of “biodegradable” categories consistent with IATTC and WCPFC and establishes a timeline for transition to biodegradable FADs similar to what was agreed in the IATTC

    FAD MANAGEMENT:
    Strengthened FAD management provisions

    • Require fully non-entangling FAD designs without netting or meshed materials
    • Require timely provision of all FAD data necessary to confirm implementation, and assess the efficacy of, FAD closure before next ICCAT Annual Session
    • Require provision of near real-time FAD position and acoustic records data for broad scientific use
    • Develop and adopt fully transparent FAD-recovery policy, FAD marking scheme, clearer rules for FAD ownership, and stronger rules for FAD buoy activation and deactivation

    ELECTRONIC MONITORING/ELECTRONIC REPORTING & OBSERVER COVERAGE:
    M
    ore fully embrace use of these monitoring and compliance tools

    • Adopt measures to increase observer coverage (human and/or electronic) on longline vessels from 10% as progress toward 100% coverage in industrial tuna fisheries, including support vessels and vessels engaged in at-sea transshipment

    HARVEST STRATEGIES:
    Accelerate work on and adoption of robust harvest strategies for all tropical tunas


  • INDIAN OCEAN TUNA COMMISSION

    2024 Priorities

    IOTC must adopt revisions to the yellowfin measure that give full effect to IOTC Scientific Committee advice and ensure that all CPCs comply.

    The Commission must also ensure skipjack and bigeye catches do not exceed the limits set by the skipjack Harvest Control Rule (HCR) the bigeye Management Procedure.

    • FAD Management: Strengthened FAD management measures and provisions
    • Electronic Monitoring/Electronic Reporting & Observer Coverage: More fully embrace use of these monitoring and compliance tools
    • Management Procedures:Accelerate adoption and implementation of comprehensive, precautionary MPs


    COMPLIANCE

    • Strengthen IOTC compliance processes and ensure robust and transparent assessment of IOTC member accountability

    TUNA STOCKS:
    Strengthened tuna conservation measures

    • Given inaction in 2022 and 2023, and serious declines in the status of yellowfin stock, IOTC must adopt without delay revisions to Res. 21/01 to give full effect to IOTC Scientific Committee advice, and ensure that all CPCs abide by the Resolution
    • Ensure skipjack and bigeye catches in 2024 do not exceed the limits set by the skipjack Harvest Control Rule (HCR) in Res. 21/03 and by the bigeye Management Procedure in Res. 22/03 and 23/04

    FAD MANAGEMENT:
    Strengthened FAD management provisions

    • Develop and implement science-based limits on FAD deployments and/or FAD sets, consistent with management objectives for tropical tunas
    • Adopt the definition of “biodegradable” categories consistent with those of IATTC and WCPFC and establish a timeline for transition to biodegradable FADs similar to what was agreed in the IATTC in 2023
    • Develop and adopt FAD marking guidelines, including requiring marking of buoy and FAD structure
    • Develop and adopt FAD tracking and recovery policies that consider utilizing supply vessels in FAD recovery efforts
    • Adopt clearer rules for FAD ownership and activation, and for FAD buoy deactivation

    ELECTRONIC MONITORING/ELECTRONIC REPORTING & OBSERVER COVERAGE:
    More fully embrace use of these monitoring and compliance tools

    • Adopt a binding measure that will ensure the safety of human observers, including those on supply and carrier vessels
    • Adopt measures to begin increasing observer coverage (human and/or electronic) from 5% as progress toward 100% coverage in industrial tuna fisheries, including all vessels engaged in at sea transshipment by 2024

    MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES:
    Accelerate adoption of robust management procedures, especially for skipjack and yellowfin

    • Accelerate work adoption of robust management procedures, particularly for skipjack and yellowfin tuna

  • WESTERN & CENTRAL PACIFIC FISHERIES COMMISSION

    2024 Priorities

    WCPFC must adopt interim electronic monitoring program standards and a timeline for implementation.

    The Commission must also adopt measures that: increase observer coverage on longline vessels, including all vessels engaged in at-sea transshipment; strengthen the regulation of at-sea transshipment; and develop electronic reporting standards for transshipment observers or providers.

    • Harvest Strategies: Build on progress made last year for more robust harvest strategies for all tunas
    • FAD Management: Strengthened FAD management measures and provisions

    COMPLIANCE

    • Strengthen WCPFC compliance processes and ensure robust and transparent assessment of WCPFC member accountability

    ELECTRONIC MONITORING/ELECTRONIC REPORTING & OBSERVER COVERAGE:
    M
    ore fully embrace use of these monitoring and compliance tools |
    AT-SEA TRANSSHIPMENT REFORMS: Amend current at-sea transshipment measure in line with best practices

    • Adopt in 2024 interim electronic monitoring program standards and a timeline for implementation beginning in 2025.
    • Adopt measures to require increased observer coverage (human and/or electronic) on longline vessels from 5% as progress toward 100% coverage in industrial tuna fisheries, including all vessels engaged in at-sea transshipment
    • Adopt revisions to CMM 2009-06 to strengthen the regulation of at-sea transshipment in line with best practice standards, including requiring:
      • Near real-time electronic reporting (not longer than 24 hours after the event) for all transshipment activity, using minimum standard data fields
      • Use of AIS and that VMS data are reported for all transshipments of WCPFC-covered species
      • Provision of observer data to the WCPFC, as well as the national program
      • Establishing criteria for authorization of at-sea transshipment and a review process
    • Develop electronic reporting standards for transshipment observers or providers through the EMER Working Group.

    FAD MANAGEMENT:
    Strengthened FAD management provisions

    • Develop through the FAD IWG stronger FAD management measures, including:
      • Science-based limits on FAD deployments and/or FAD sets
      • No later than 2025, establishing a timeline for transition to biodegradable FADs similar to what was agreed in the IATTC
      • Require provision of near real-time FAD position and acoustic biomass records data for scientific use
      • Develop and adopt a fully transparent FAD-recovery policy
      • Develop and adopt a FAD marking scheme, including requiring the marking of the buoy and the FAD structure
      • Develop and adopt clear rules for FAD ownership and stronger rules for FAD buoy activation and deactivation
    • Request the Scientific Committee to evaluate the impact of the reduction in FAD closures in the relevant conservation measure on both target tuna species and non-target and associated and dependent species.

    HARVEST STRATEGIES:
    Build on progress made last year for more robust harvest strategies for all tunas

    • Adopt Target Reference Points and continue to develop management procedures for bigeye and yellowfin
    • Accelerate, through the Science Manager Dialogue meeting, development of harvest strategy for South Pacific albacore that considers entire South Pacific in operating models

Tuna Catches by RFMO Region

Use our “Interactive Stock Status and Catch Tool” to visualize stock health trends, current tuna catch, and catch trends over time by ocean region.

Download the data in different file formats, and generate custom graphics to share via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

ISSF Advocacy

Learn how ISSF guides RFMOs and national governments in establishing more sustainable tuna-fishing policies.

Position Statements

ISSF position statements detail our sustainability recommendations to help tuna RFMOs make informed policy decisions.

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