ISSF’s research and advocacy work – from the annual Status of the Stocks report to attendance at every major tropical tuna RFMO meeting – is aimed at ensuring effective conservation and management of tuna resources globally.


Tuna species – especially skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye and albacore – are integral to the greater marine ecosystem, support the diet of millions and, as a commodity, are fundamental to the global economy.


Understanding the health of the tuna stocks on which the world relies is a critical first step to promoting tuna conservation globally. Each year, ISSF’s Scientific Advisory Committee publishes the Status of the Stocks Report, which provides a comprehensive analysis of tuna stocks by species. This report informs our research and advocacy priorities.

For example, the overfishing of a particular tuna species may inform ISSF’s at-sea research to test technical methods to manage the catch of the species. Then, as the health of the stock demands, ISSF advocates for specific conservation measures for a particular tuna species at the RFMO level. ISSF includes an appeal regarding conservation measures aimed at protecting the species in its outreach to the relevant RFMO. Finally, ISSF may also choose to establish its own conservation measure or commitment to further support tuna conservation efforts. Download an infographic of current ISSF conservation measures.

Globally speaking, ISSF endorses the application of the precautionary approach using clear target and limit reference points and harvest control rules (HCRs), as called for by the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and by some RFMO Conventions. While most tuna RFMOs have at least begun consideration of limit reference points through their science committees, none have fully implemented these measures. ISSF urges all tuna RFMOs to adopt stock-specific limit and target reference points and HCRs.

Most importantly, ISSF devotes its resources to promoting these best practices with fisheries managers globally, via workshops and knowledge sharing. The precautionary approach is one of the most important actions that RFMO members can take to ensure the long-term sustainability of tuna stocks.