Only five out of 19 major commercial tuna stocks are being managed to avoid overfishing and restore depleted fish populations — and have earned a passing score for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Principle 1 — according to independent scientists in a report published by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.
ISSF 2019-02: An Evaluation of the Sustainability of Global Tuna Stocks Relative to Marine Stewardship Council Criteria attributes this failure to poor stock status, the lack of well-defined harvest control rules (HCRs), and the lack of effective tools to control harvest. Only three of the stocks have well-defined harvest control rules from Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), which continue progressing slowly in this area.
The January 2018 version of the report had found that six out of 19 stocks were being managed to avoid overfishing, meaning the situation has not improved in the last year. While South Pacific albacore Principle 1 score has improved thanks to further progress by WCPFC on this stock’s harvest strategy workplan, two other stocks have seen their overall Principle 1 scores worsen: eastern Pacific bigeye due mostly to uncertainties in its latest stock assessment, and Atlantic yellowfin tuna due to weak tools in place to control exploitation that may be hindering its rebuilding plan.
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 iss-foundation.org, and follow ISSF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.