Tuna Fisheries Conservation Group Expands Measures for Global Seafood Companies to Reduce Bycatch; Augment Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Efforts; and More

Contact: Charlie Patterson, +1 202-680-8132, [email protected]

Washington, D.C. -- May 11, 2017

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) announced today the adoption of three new and two amended conservation measures to facilitate continuous improvement across global tuna fisheries. These five measures cover reducing incidental capture of sharks and marine turtles, supply and tender vessel monitoring, transshipment observers, and capacity management. The new measures go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Two new measures are the first to affect longline vessels specifically. The ISSF Status of the Stocks report shows that longline fishing accounted for 12% of the tuna catch globally in 2015; longline fishers caught nearly 143,000 tons of albacore tuna, for example.

All ISSF conservation measures directly impact how nearly 30 global seafood companies that are ISSF participating companies do business with vessels on the water, at the processing plant, and in the marketplace.

3 new ISSF conservation measures directly affect how nearly 30 tuna companies worldwide do business. Click To Tweet

“ISSF continually reviews its conservation measures to update existing standards or to create new measures based on scientific research, fishing methods and conservation needs,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “With about 75 percent of the world’s canned tuna processing capacity conforming to multiple ISSF measures for sustainability best practices, and with major tuna companies being transparently audited against those measures, we have a real opportunity to make changes on and off the water.”

New ISSF Conservation Measures — Mitigating Bycatch, Improving MCS Efforts
Bycatch Mitigation
Some tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and/or national governments have adopted requirements for fishing gear modifications in longline tuna fisheries — such as the use of circle hooks and monofilament lines, best-practice bycatch handling techniques, and/or prohibition of “shark lines” — while others have not. 

ISSF is committed to supporting the global use of these techniques, which reduce the catch of non-tuna species, by longline vessels. To that end, new ISSF Conservation Measure 3.6 Transactions with Vessels Implementing Best Practices for Sharks and Sea Turtles is adopted to further support the implementation of RFMO conservation measures for bycatch mitigation in longline tuna fisheries. The ISSF measure requires participating tuna companies to conduct transactions only with those longline vessels that commit to follow such best practices to protect sharks and marine turtles.

Read more on Conservation Measure 3.6.

ProActive Vessel Register — Supply and Tender Vessels
Supply and tender vessels are used in many oceans by purse seine vessels. These vessels help to seed and maintain FADs in good condition and in the appropriate areas, but they are minimally monitored and regulated by three of the four major tropical tuna RFMOs.

ISSF has adopted new Conservation Measure 7.4 Supply and Tender Vessels to further support the implementation of RFMO conservation measures for supply and tender vessels, and the collection of data and effective monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of such vessels. The new measure applies to ISSF participating companies that have controlled supply or tender vessels that operate with purse seine vessels fishing for skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna. It requires those companies to:

  • Register those supply and tender vessels on the ISSF ProActive Vessel Register (PVR)
  • Ensure the vessels also are listed on the authorized vessel record of the RFMO that governs the ocean area where the tuna is caught
  • Ensure they have an IMO unique vessel identifier
  • Ensure they are not listed on any RFMO’s IUU Vessel List

Read more on Conservation Measure 7.4.

Monitoring, Control & Surveillance (MCS)
At-sea transshipment is the act of transferring a catch between vessels, or to a vessel used for cargo, away from a port. New ISSF Conservation Measure 4.4 (c) Transshipment At Sea – Observer Coverage requires tuna companies that do business with large-scale longline vessels to conduct transactions only with longliners whose at-sea transshipment activities are 100% monitored by human observers, either onboard the main vessel or onboard the transshipment vessel.

This measure aims to improve tuna product traceability and to curtail illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Read more on Conservation Measure 4.4(c).

Amended ISSF Conservation Measures — Effective Capacity Management
Amended ISSF Conservation Measure 6.2(a) Requirements for Inclusion in Record of Large-Scale Purse Seine Vessels Fishing for Tropical Tunas, first adopted in 2012, is amended to clarify when a new large-scale purse seine vessel is permitted to be added to the ISSF Record of Large-Scale Purse Seine Vessels as a replacement for a vessel already on the Record that has sunk, has been scrapped, or otherwise permanently transferred out of the tropical tuna fishery.

Read more on Conservation Measure 6.2(a).

Amended Conservation Measure 7.2 Threshold Requirement for PVR Listing, first adopted in 2014, is amended to specify procedures regarding ISSF Record of Large-Scale Purse Seine Vessels and ProActive Vessel Register listing that must be followed when a vessel owner is replacing a vessel that is being scrapped.

Read more on Conservation Measure 7.2.

About ISSF Conservation Measures & Compliance
ISSF is a global partnership among scientists, the tuna industry and the environmental non-governmental community whose mission is to undertake science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health.

Since its inception, ISSF has adopted conservation measures and commitments to facilitate this mission with the intent that processors, traders, marketers and others involved in the seafood industry will follow them to facilitate real and continuous improvement across global tuna stocks. ISSF Participating Companies commit to conform to these conservation measures to improve the long-term health of tuna fisheries. They also must adhere to the ISSA Compliance Policy.

About the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is a global coalition of scientists, the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) — the world’s leading conservation organization — promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health. To learn more, visit https://iss-foundation.org/.