ISSF releases position statement calling for better management of stocks and monitoring requirements


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



Washington, DC – 1 December 2015 – The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has released its position statement in advance of the 12th Regular Session Meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Council (WCPFC) in Bali, Indonesia on December 3-8.

“Tuna is a vital commodity in this part of the world, but the complex and cumbersome measures currently in place are not as effective as they could be,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “Exemptions, optional clauses and combinations of measures that have not responded effectively to the clear scientific advice have made it more difficult to arrest overfishing; as a result, Pacific bluefin, North Pacific striped marlin, and bigeye tuna stocks are now overfished.”

At the top of the statement, ISSF urges the WCPFC to eliminate the exemptions and optional clauses in its tropical tuna management measure. To meet the objective of ending overfishing of the bigeye stock, ISSF urges the adoption of management measures that are effective and easier to enforce or a reduction in fishing effort. Limiting fishing days in the purse seine fishery to a lower level, ISSF says, will also maintain skipjack tuna within the range of candidate target reference points (TRPs).

Consistent with ISSF’s long-time backing of harvest strategies as essential to modern fisheries management, the Foundation also urges WCPFC to firmly define harvest strategies, TRPs and harvest control rules (HCRs) for skipjack, bigeye, yellowfin and South Pacific albacore tunas. ISSF supports the PNA proposal to set the target reference point for skipjack at 50% of the unfished biomass – thereby acting before the stock declines to an extent that makes such a decision much harder.

Regarding fish aggregating devices (FADs), ISSF welcomes the creation of a Working Group on FAD management options and is pleased to participate in last week’s meeting of the Working Group, also held in Bali. Earlier this year, ISSF recommended that the Working Group hold an in-person meeting to make faster progress toward establishing the infrastructure needed for enhanced FAD data collection. ISSF is also urging the WCPFC to expand the information required from vessels to include data on FAD deployments, designs, equipment and identification marks.


Other improvements advocated for in the ISSF position statement include:

  • Continued strengthening of the Compliance Monitoring Scheme’s so that accredited observers may attend the working group meetings and information on plans to address the areas of identified non-compliance is made public
  • The development of a scheme of responses to non-compliance
  • Adopting measures to promote transparency in access agreements and chartering or joint venture arrangements
  • The management of fishing capacity, including via establishing limited entry through closed vessel registries and a common currency to measure fishing capacity, as well as supporting the Kobe III call for creating mechanisms to transfer capacity to developing countries
  • Reforming the WCPFC transshipment measure and strengthening compliance with existing data reporting requirements, as well as the 5% observer coverage requirement for longline vessels
  • Urging ratification of the 2009 FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing


To access the full position statement 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