ISSF Skippers Workshops bring tuna fishers together with marine scientists for participatory sessions — at key fishing ports worldwide — to share ideas and information on best practices to reduce bycatch.

Skippers workshops are an important component of ISSF’s mission. Held throughout the year at major ports in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, ISSF workshops have welcomed crew members from vessels fishing under more than 25 national flags.

In 2019, the 10th anniversary year for ISSF and the Skippers Workshops program, we conducted 12 workshops in nine countries, including in Croatia for the first time. We also set an individual workshop attendance record — 173 fishers participated in our session in Manta, Ecuador.

Fishers’ workshop attendance helps tuna vessels — and the companies that purchase, process, trade, or market their tuna — to better meet certain sustainability goals and international market standards. Skippers workshop attendance also meets the requirement for ISSF conservation measure 3.4.

Workshops Open to Fishers & Other Stakeholders

Since 2009, we have hosted more than 100 workshops on five continents, attracting more than 4,000 purse seine skippers, crew, ship-owners, fleet managers, and cannery managers as well as scientists and government officials. We also have hosted seabird and sea turtle workshops for longline skippers. Dr. Jefferson Murua of AZTI Tecnalia leads the workshop program. 

Fishers attending our workshops recognize the short- and long-term importance of maintaining tuna stocks at healthy levels. They also have committed to help reduce fishing’s environmental impacts — including by learning release techniques for sharkssea turtles, manta rays, and other marine species of conservation concern. To complement our in-person workshops, ISSF offers a guidebooks siteworkshop videos, and other skippers resources.

Recent workshops have focused on marine litter reduction from FAD fishing, including FAD retrieval. Our report ISSF 2020-01: ISSF Skippers’ Workshops Round 9 provides an update on the program’s results in 2019. We also have reports on our biodegradable FAD design workshops in Spain and Ghana.

Our infographic shows workshop participation by participant role through 2018. ISSF skippers workshops have received support from the Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationCommon Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, and the International Seafood Sustainability Association

2019 Skippers Workshops

Many skippers, other crew, ship owners, fleet managers, fleet representatives, officials, and scientists have attended our workshops to date.

Feb. 26, 2019 Tema, Ghana 70 participants
April 9, 2019 Manta, Ecuador 64 participants
May 3, 2019 Jakarta, Indonesia 30 participants
May 6, 2019 Sibolga, Indonesia 31 participants
June 10, 2019 Mazatlan, Mexico 20 participants
June 26-27, 2019 General Santos, Philippines (incl. biodegradable FADs workshop) 32 participants
July 1-2, 2019 Majuro, Marshall Islands 8 participants
Aug. 30, 2019 Manta, Ecuador 173 participants
Sept. 5, 2019 Zadar, Croatia (biodegradable FADs) 9 participants
Sept. 26, 2019 Sukarrieta, Spain 21 participants
Oct. 7, 2019 Concarneau, France 19 participants
Oct. 7-11, 2019 Sukarrieta, Spain 54 participants