Tuna fisheries conservation group expands measures for global seafood companies to more than 25 auditable best practices for sustainability

Contact: Charlie Patterson, +1 202 680 8132,[email protected]

Washington, D.C. -- November 2, 2016

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) announced today the adoption of new and amended conservation measures to facilitate continuous improvement across global tuna stocks and to reflect ISSF participating companies’ commitment to driving positive change. The measures address the use of non-entangling fish aggregating devices, or FADs; product traceability; and fishing capacity management — directly impacting how nearly thirty global seafood companies do business with vessels on the water, at the processing plant, and in the marketplace.

“When it comes to the global tuna fishing, industry must play a leading role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of global tuna stocks,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “With as much as 75 percent of the world’s tuna processing capacity conforming to multiple measures for sustainability best practices — and being transparently audited against those measures — ISSF can make real progress toward its goal of sustainable fisheries for the long term.”

Non-entangling FADs: Mitigating Bycatch in Tuna Fisheries

Scientific studies show that FADs, when constructed with materials such as loose old netting, can entangle vulnerable species such as sharks. To address this issue, ISSF scientists developed the ISSF Guide for Non-Entangling FADs. Research indicates that vessels fully implementing non-entangling FADs can completely eliminate shark entanglement — saving many thousands of sharks across ocean regions. While some tuna fisheries management organizations have already made the transition from traditional FADs to non-entangling FADs, others have not.

To support of the global transition to non-entangling FADs, ISSF adopted Conservation Measure 3.5 Transactions with Vessels that Use Only Non-entangling FADs. The measure stipulates that ISSF participating companies “conduct transactions only with those purse seine vessels whose owners have a public policy regarding the use of only non-entangling FADs” and that the policy should refer to the ISSF Guide for Non-Entangling FADs. The measure became effective October 18, 2016 and vessel owners have six months from that date to develop and publish their policies, which must require deployment of only non-entangling FADs within twelve months.

 

Product Labeling: Expanding a Commitment to Tuna Traceability

Adequate tuna product traceability records are necessary to enforce compliance with existing and future conservation measures, and also to eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. Formalizing a commitment by the world’s leading tuna companies to make this information publicly available strengthens industry transparency.

ISSF adopted Conservation Measure 2.3 Product Labeling by Species and Area of Capture, which states that participating companies will identify 1.) all species of tuna and 2.) the ocean of capture for tuna contained in a product on all labeling or through a publicly available web-based traceability system, for all branded tuna products. The measure applies to all product labeling as of January 1, 2018.

 

Committed to Effective Capacity Management

“Unmanaged fishing capacity is the quickest path to overfishing. We continue to be concerned that there are too many tuna fishing boats on the water, causing overfishing of some tuna stocks,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson.

“That’s why ISSF has refined and expanded its capacity management conservation measures, through which the tuna industry — following scientific and environmental group recommendations — is urged to do business with only those vessels that already are on the water, unless new vessels are replacing existing boats that are taken completely out of service.”

ISSF announces new conservation measures in support of its existing capacity measures 6.1 Transaction Ban for Large-Scale Purse Seine Vessels not Actively Fishing for Tuna as of December 31, 2012 and 6.2(a) Requirements for Inclusion in Record of Large-Scale Purse Seine Vessels Fishing For Tropical Tunas. The new measures address investments in and purchases from purse seine vessels not in compliance with the preceding capacity measures.

The first of those new measures, 6.2(d) Investment in Purse Seine Vessels Not in Compliance with ISSF Conservation Measures 6.1 and 6.2(a) states that ISSF participating companies that are investors in any new vessel that does not meet all of the conditions in Conservation Measures 6.1 and 6.2(a) shall buy out and scrap existing capacity of large-scale tuna purse seine vessel(s) that corresponds to the full capacity of the new vessel. “New vessels” includes vessels owned, partially or fully:

  • Directly or indirectly by any ISSF participating company, or
  • Directly or indirectly by any individuals who hold controlling interests of any ISSF participating company.

The second of the new capacity measures, 6.2(e) Purchases From Purse Seine Vessels in Fleets With Other Vessels Not in Compliance with ISSF Conservation Measures 6.1 and 6.2(a), states that participating companies shall refrain from transactions in tuna caught by large-scale purse seine vessels owned by business organizations or individuals that also own large-scale purse seine vessels not in compliance with measures 6.1 and 6.2(a).

Finally, in additional support of efforts toward capacity management, ISSF amends one of its conservation measures regarding the ISSF ProActive Vessel Register (PVR). If purchasing tuna from large-scale purse seine vessels, ISSF participating companies must ensure that 100% of those vessels are on the PVR. Further, measure 7.2 Threshold Requirement for PVR Listing states that to be listed on the PVR, all large-scale purse seine vessels must be in compliance with all ISSF capacity measures and listed on the ISSF Record of Large Scale Purse Seine Vessels.

Amendments to Measure 7.2 Threshold Requirement for PVR Listing now stipulate that, in order to be listed on the PVR:

  • All large-scale purse seine vessels owned by the same business organization shall be in compliance with all ISSF capacity measures and listed on the Record.
  • If a large-scale purse seine vessel is not in demonstrated compliance, any and all large-scale purse seine vessels owned by the same business organization will not be eligible to be listed on the Record, and if those vessels are already on the Record, they will be removed.

All ISSF conservation measures are available for review in full at: https://iss-foundation.org/knowledge-tools/publications-presentations/conservation-measures-commitments/

 

About ISSF Conservation Measures & Compliance

ISSF is a global partnership among scientists, the tuna industry and the environmental non-governmental community whose mission is to undertake science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health.

Since its inception, ISSF has adopted conservation measures and commitments to facilitate this mission with the intent that processors, traders, marketers and others involved in the seafood industry will follow them to facilitate real and continuous improvement across global tuna stocks. ISSF Participating Companies commit to conform to these conservation measures to improve the long-term health of tuna fisheries. They also must adhere to the ISSA Compliance Policy.

 

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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. To learn more, visit https://iss-foundation.org/.