Fishing activities that are illegal or unreported or unregulated can harm fish stocks and undermine management efforts and the efforts of responsible fishers.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Although IUU (illegal, unreported, and unregulated) fishing may benefit a few unscrupulous actors in the short run, it harms the seafood industry overall in the long run, and demands the industry’s focused efforts to combat it.

WHAT WE’RE DOING ABOUT IT

Companies that participate in ISSF commit to several conservation measures regarding illegal, unreported, and/or unregulated fishing, and ISSF uses a rigorous compliance process for any such allegations. The bulk of our work, however, is focused on proactively eliminating all elements of these harmful practices over time through a range of conservation measures, initiatives, and tools. Our multipronged approach includes:

IMO Database and the ProActive Vessel Register (PVR)
To begin weeding out tuna caught by IUU fishing activities, ISSF has worked with industry to make permanent and unique vessel identifiers – such as IMO numbers – a standard practice. ISSF also introduced the PVR, a database that uses third-party auditing to transparently report on vessels implementing a series of best practices.

Advocating for Stronger RFMOs
We continue to reach out to RFMOs and member governments to strengthen capacity for effective governance, science-based decision making, enforcement, and compliance.

Strengthening and Harmonizing Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance (MCS)
Examples of our focus on promoting MCS include:

  • Trials of electronic observer systems aboard tuna purse seine and longline vessels with lessons learned and best practices disseminated to sub-regional organizations and RFMOs for upscaling.
  • Promoting Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) program best practices to strengthen existing RFMO VMS and assist in the development of new regional and national VMS programs.
  • Promoting the tightening of transshipment requirements for longliners and purse seiners in RFMOs and the implementation of best practices.

ISSF Conservation Measures and Compliance Process
Examples of our conservation measures combating IUU:

  • Requiring that all tuna processors, traders, importers and markets refrain from transactions with vessels that are not flagged to the relevant RFMO member or cooperating non-member (unless the country has applied for such status); refrain from transactions in tuna caught by vessels on a tuna RFMO IUU list; and refrain from transactions in tuna caught by (1) vessels that are not on the authorized vessel record of the relevant RFMO and (2) by vessels of the size subject to listing on the relevant RFMO’s authorized vessel record and capable of being registered by IMO that have not registered with IMO and received an IMO or UVI.
  • ISSF participating companies are committed to achieving 100 percent observer coverage (human or electronic if proven to be effective) of purse seine vessels.