ISSF calls for continued advances towards Harvest Control Rules and protections for yellowfin stock

Contact:                 Erin Grandstaff and Charlie Patterson, +1 202-680-8132,

Washington, DC – 19 May 2016 – The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has released its position statement in advance of the 20th Session Meeting of IOTC in La Reunion, France on May 23-27.

At the top of the statement, ISSF urges IOTC to take additional steps beyond last year’s workshops to adopt reference points and harvest control rules (with particular attention to Indian Ocean yellowfin), create closed vessel registries to address fleet capacity issues and continue to improve the region’s management and data collection of fish aggregating devices (FADs).

“In collaboration with our NGO partners and participating companies, ISSF has issued strong appeals to IOTC – from the adoption of measures that will reduce catches of IO yellowfin tuna and rebuild the stock to the development of an integrated monitoring, control and surveillance strategy,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “IOTC delegates have received numerous outreach letters from ISSF participating companies as well as like-minded NGOs and industry colleagues prior to this meeting, and we hope that this unified call for action will be taken into account for the yellowfin issue, as well as other outstanding work that can and should be achieved in the region.”

Highlights from the ISSF position statement include:

Tuna Stocks

The IOTC Scientific Committee projected that a 20% reduction in catch could rebuild the yellowfin stock to the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) level with 50% probability by 2024 and recommended that a rebuilding plan for the stock should be driven by an agreed Management Procedure (Harvest Strategy), including Harvest Control Rules, and based on the agreed interim target and limit reference points. 


ISSF therefore urges the IOTC to adopt measures to reduce the catches of yellowfin by longline, gillnet, handline and purse seine by at least 20% and supports the Scientific Committee’s recommendation regarding a rebuilding plan.


Harvest Strategies

In order to further progress the adoption of Harvest Strategies, ISSF urges the Commission to fully support the recommendation from the ongoing IOTC workshops promoting dialogue among scientists, managers and stakeholders related to the formulation of management objectives, and to provide assistance to developing members


Fishing Capacity

ISSF urges the Commission to implement the recommendations of the second IOTC Performance Review on fishing capacity management and to consider the outcomes of the 2014 ISSF workshop. ISSF urges the Commission to amend Resolution 03/01 to create a comprehensive closed vessel registry.


FAD Management

ISSF encourages all fleets to implement, as soon as possible, provisions regarding the use of non-entangling FADs designs to reduce the incidental entanglement of non-target species, using biodegradable material as much as possible, based on the principles outlined in Resolution – a critical step in the reduction of shark mortality and reduction of other ecosystem impacts in the Indian Ocean.


Shark Management

ISSF endorses the Scientific Committee’s recommendations that the Commission develop mechanisms to encourage members to comply with their data-reporting requirement and adopt sufficient measures to limit fishing mortality on sharks.


Observer Coverage

ISSF strongly urges the adoption of 100% observer coverage on large-scale tropical tuna purse seine fleets. Where human onboard observers are not possible for certain fleets or vessel sizes, the Commission should immediately explore electronic monitoring systems and establish policies and guidelines for their use.


To access the full position statement click here. For an interactive look at ISSF’s IOTC priorities, click here.


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 their website at