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Acoustic Discrimination of Tropical Tuna

Sustainability-driven new research could one day help tuna fisheries cast their nets more selectively, mitigating unintentional “bycatch” of undersized fish and off-limits species.

The key development is an innovative application of electronic fish-finders like those commonly used by commercial tuna fleets. A multinational research team conducted the investigation under the sponsorship of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).

In a research article titled Acoustic Discrimination of Tropical Tuna, published in PLOS ONE, the peer-reviewed open-access journal of the Public Library of Science, the ISSF team’s findings address a chronic challenge for commercial fishing fleets: How is it possible to identify and harvest mature, sustainable tuna without disturbing young fish or other species in the same vicinity?

As corresponding author Gala Moreno, Ph. D., explains, “If you’re working with land animals, you can walk right up to the herd and count them by size and species. But, typically, fish are out of your reach, hard to see, and constantly moving in three dimensions.”

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Featured Video

Biodegradable FADs

Dr. Gala Moreno and Dr. Jefferson Murua reflect on the value of fisher-scientist collaboration at a workshop on biodegradable fish aggregating devices (FADs)—another critical fisheries innovation—in Dakar, Senegal. The workshop was part of The Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project.

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Tuna Facts

11% of the global tuna catch is made by longline fishing vessels

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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. Helping global tuna fisheries meet sustainability criteria to achieve the Marine Stewardship Council certification standard — without conditions — is ISSF's ultimate objective. In 2019, ISSF celebrated a “Decade of Discovery” as the organization completed its tenth year of scientific research, advocacy and industry engagement. To learn more, visit iss-foundation.org, and follow ISSF on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.