ISSF wants all tuna fisheries, regardless of fishing method, target species, or location, to be sustainable — capable of meeting the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification standard without conditions.
ISSF’s new 5-year strategic plan establishes ambitious goals for our role in tuna fisheries improvement.
Strategic Goals for Fisheries
MSC certification is a science-based global standard in sustainable fishing, and seafood products sourced from MSC-certified fisheries can carry the MSC “ecolabel” for consumers. Helping all tuna fisheries to become capable of realizing MSC’s certification standards “without conditions” is ISSF’s long-time guiding objective.
The harvesting of seven economically significant tuna species is carried out by, or takes place in the waters of, 80 nations. Tuna fishing involves thousands of vessels in all oceans, and impacts many marine species and environments. Given that scale and scope, ISSF’s new 5-year strategic plan establishes ambitious goals for our role in tuna fisheries improvement.
Tuna Fishery Improvement Projects
A tuna Fishery Improvement Project or “FIP” is an alliance of stakeholders — tuna retailers, processors, producers, and/or catchers — that uses the power of the private sector and markets to resolve problems within a specific fishery or improve some specific aspect that requires attention, incentivizing positive changes toward sustainability of the fishery. The FIP identifies data that need to be collected, sets the priority actions that should be undertaken, and then oversees the action plan adopted.
FIPs are structured, collaborative, multi-stakeholder, and multi-year initiatives that need to have detailed workplans and regular milestones for evaluating progress. Fishery stakeholders may start a FIP to make improvements to some — or all — of the environmental issues in the fishery. Some FIPs may aim to achieve a level of performance consistent with an unconditional pass of the MSC standard, while others may have MSC certification as an end goal. ISSF has resources available for these different types of tuna FIPs.
For more background on fishery improvement projects, see our FIP FAQs.
FIPs are tracked globally by FisheryProgress.org, which you can search by FIP name, species, country, participant, and progress rating. ISSF advises all FIPs to create a profile for their project on the site.
FisheryProgress.org also provides a variety of resources to:
- Launch a FIP, including how to engage stakeholders, develop the FIP workplan, and finance the FIP
- Assess a fishery, including the initial assessment and scoping document
- Report FIP progress, including three-year audits for comprehensive FIPs
- Share FIP success stories
For businesses and foundations that are supporting FIPs, FisheryProgress.org makes it easier for them to assess progress.
FisheryProgress.org is overseen by an advisory committee and managed day to day by FishChoice. The Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions developed the FIP guidelines that are the foundation for the site. The Technical Oversight Committee helps to guide the evaluation process and related functionality.
Tuna FIP Support
Each tuna FIP addresses one or more gear types and tuna species. There are more than 30 tuna FIPs worldwide — including with participation from some ISSF participating companies — encompassing four of the five tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO) regions, with the potential for many new additional projects.