Fishing for tuna has an undeniable impact on our oceans. While vessels may not be taking more tuna than a fishery can provide (and that depends on the species and region), what about other marine life? Our Status of World Fisheries for Tuna report points out that in some regions of the world we just don’t have clear answers. This growing area of concern in tuna fisheries is called bycatch. In simple terms it’s the stuff vessels fish from the ocean that crews didn’t set out to take – small tuna, turtles and sharks. Everyone agrees it would be best to keep these animals out of the net or off the hook and it begins with good science.
ISSF has set out to work on a globally coordinated, scientific approach to solving this problem. Experts are working together to highlight what’s known, what data is missing and which research projects have the best chance to produce results. Some of these scientists first met in Sukarrieta, Spain, in late November 2009 and in 2011 ISSF began conducting experiments and tested new technologies and techniques onboard a working tuna vessel.
In the near term ISSF will be able to identify best practices that, once put in place, can help mitigate the impact of bycatch. Long term, this work will help make tuna fishing overall a more sustainable practice.
The primary goal is to develop fishing methods and gear technology that minimize catch of non-target species and juvenile tunas, and implement these technologies through RFMO adoption of conservation measures requiring their use.
ISSF plans to accomplish this by: