Highlights include participating company compliance, collaborative advocacy, and ISSF-model-in-action snapshots

For Immediate Release                                                                                               

Contact:         Erin Grandstaff and Charlie Patterson, +1 202-618-6000


Washington, D.C. – 23 June 2016 The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) released its 2015 annual report today, Global Reach, Global Impact, which outlines tuna sustainability progress and achievements and argues for continuous improvement of global tuna fisheries through collaboration and advocacy.

“Since 2009, ISSF has advanced science-driven approaches to sustainable tuna fisheries and served as a convener and facilitator for collaboration amongst a diverse group of stakeholders that share common goals,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “In 2015, we continued to leverage this cross-stakeholder engagement to support and vigorously advocate to Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs).”

“We’re making progress toward the adoption and implementation of science-based measures that advance sustainably managed tuna stocks,” Jackson said, “and we’re pleased to share the global impacts of our work – from the water to the shelf – in the 2015 annual report.”

Global Reach, Global Impact also emphasizes successful industry engagement, including ISSF participating companies’ compliance with ISSF conservation measures. The 2015 report shows a conformance rate of 87 percent, across all companies, across all measures – an increase from nearly 80 percent in 2014. For the first time since ISSF started tracking and reporting company compliance in 2013 – and in response to requests for deeper information – ISSF is publishing individual compliance reports for each participating company, available on the ISSF website.

“Hundreds of millions of people around the globe rely on tuna as a primary food source and an occupation. The issues impacting global tuna stocks are complex. They can’t be solved by one organization or through one approach,” said ISSF Chairman Juan Corrales. “But we know sustainability is achievable. It requires collaboration, science-driven approaches, continuous learning and a long-term commitment. And yes, it takes a strong industry committed to participation.”

Status of the Stocks
Effective tracking and measurement underpins our efforts to improve global tuna stocks. ISSF produces The Status of the Stocks report on an annual basis or more to highlight the health of the world’s commercial tuna stocks and to serve as a measuring stick for progress made and the work still ahead. The Status of the Stocks measures the status of all major commercial tuna stocks against three key factors: stock abundance; exploitation/management; and environmental impact (bycatch).

What’s in the report:
By the numbers:

  • 48% of tuna stocks globally are at a healthy level of abundance
  • 39% of tuna stocks globally need stronger management to end overfishing
  • 78% of global tuna catch (by tonnage) comes from healthy stocks
  • 16% of global tuna catch (by tonnage) comes from stocks where fishing is not well managed

ISSF’s advocacy spans four tuna RFMOs, three oceans, many of the world’s major food retailers and foodservice groups, MSC client fisheries, global tuna fishing fleets, regional organizations, national governments, and the world’s leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with active tuna programs. And the impacts of our collaborative work are equally as broad.

What’s in the report:
A review of the collaborative tactics that culminated with the inclusion of ISSF priorities in 23 of 33 total RFMO policies:

ISSF Model in Action
Achieving global tuna fisheries sustainability is complicated. Challenges are multifaceted and interconnected, and therefore we must drive progress collaboratively, from multiple angles. Global Reach, Global Impact illustrates examples of the ISSF multi-pronged approach – via our science, advocacy, market outreach, and transparency efforts – across a series of timely topics.

What’s in the report:
ISSF has taken the lead in conducting and supporting FAD research on potential mitigation strategies and best practices:

  • 3 scientific research cruises in 2015 to test practices and gain additional knowledge on FAD use
  • Improved echo-sounder buoys to remotely assess the amount of small bigeye tuna around FADs
  • Acoustic tagging and tracking of bigeye and non-target species around FADs
  • Comparison of shallow versus deep hanging components to potentially avoid small bigeye

ISSF actively advocates for improved data collection on FAD use, to be used by RFMO scientific bodies to make appropriate FAD management recommendations:

  • ISSF advocated for and will participate in FAD Management Working Groups in all four tuna RFMOs
  • Supporting enhanced monitoring to further improve FAD knowledge and best practice implementation
  • ISSF advocated for FAD data collection requirements for vessel operators and observers established by three tuna RFMOs

Market Influence
ISSF works with fishers to share information on best practices through Skippers Workshop sessions around the globe. Importantly, these sessions support an ISSF conservation measure requiring that tuna be purchased only from purse seine vessels whose skipper has participated in a review of this material.

On IUU Fishing
ISSF funds and supports electronic monitoring trials and electronic observer reporting technology to bring IUU activities to light:

  • Funding e-Coordinator position in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean region to ensure comparability in standards and outputs
  • Supporting e-monitoring trials onboard longliners in Solomon Islands and New Caledonia
  • Co-hosting a workshop with Fisheries Agency of Taiwan on use of e-monitoring on longliners
  • Supporting side events at RFMOs to advance understanding of e-monitoring and e-reporting trials and their outcomes

ISSF advocates for improved compliance mechanisms within RFMOs to ensure member states – and their fleets – are implementing conservation measures and meeting their RFMO obligations

Market Influence
By supporting ISSF measures – and by including them in their procurement guidance – retailers bring market influence to bear in support of tuna sustainability initiatives:

  • 29 retailers across the globe have publicly or internally incorporated ISSF conservation measures and/or the PVR

ISSF participating companies are audited at least annually to assess their compliance with all ISSF conservation measures, including those specifically related to combating IUU fishing.


About the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation 

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 iss-foundation.org.

# # #