Advancing Sustainable Tuna Fisheries
ISSF’s Five-Year Strategic Plan
This year, ISSF released its new strategic plan Advancing Sustainable Tuna Fisheries: A Five-Year Plan, which lays out the research and advocacy organization’s mission and approach to meeting sustainability objectives over the next five years.
The plan is activated through three core pillars of science, influence, and verification — encompassing tuna stock health and fisheries bycatch, outreach to Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and vessels, partnerships with tuna companies, fishery improvement support, and more. ISSF’s ultimate objective remains to improve the sustainability of global tuna fisheries so they are capable of meeting the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification standard without conditions.
Objective Strategies, Evolved Approaches
While ISSF tools and resources — because they help reach the organization’s objective regarding MSC certification — are complementary to fisheries improvement work, a formalized focus on Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs) is new to Advancing Sustainable Tuna Fisheries.
“ISSF has built a strong reputation for taking the scientific route — identifying and advocating for approaches based on the best available scientific data,” said Bill Fox, ISSF Board member and Vice President, Fisheries, WWF-U.S. “We look forward to the Foundation bringing this rigorous approach in its expanded and direct support of the fisheries improvement work progressing across global tuna fisheries.”
Progress to Date, Goals to Prioritize
ISSF offers a related, infographic-rich microsite that explores five focus areas of the strategic plan: bycatch mitigation, FADs and FAD management, illegal fishing, industry commitment, and harvest strategies. For all focus areas, which have evolved from the organization’s previous five-year plan, ISSF cites outcomes to date as a result of its model of scientific research, knowledge sharing, and advocacy.
Additional Strategic Plan goals laid out in the microsite include:
- Harvest control rules for all commercial tuna stocks
- All RFMOs require biodegradable Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs)
- 100% observer coverage across all gears and tuna fisheries
- Additional tuna vessels of all gear types on ISSF’s ProActive Vessel Register
- More companies across the tuna supply chain committing to ISSF conservation measures
- ISSF participating companies maintaining full conformance with ISSF conservation measures
The microsite also highlights benchmarking tools and summarizes ISSF resources for FIPs and MSC certification efforts.
The 2018-2022 strategic plan was developed with input from ISSF partners representing more than a dozen external stakeholder groups and organizations — including those from the scientific, charitable foundation, and NGO communities. The plan was developed over a ten-month period and approved by ISSF’s Board of Directors, and can be downloaded from the microsite.
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. To learn more, visit https://iss-foundation.org/, and follow ISSF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.