ISSF lists priorities for upcoming annual Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission

Contact: Charlie Patterson, +1 202-680-8132, [email protected]

Washington, D.C. -- July 24, 2017

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) released its position statement in advance of the 92nd Meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in Mexico City, Mexico, from July 24-28, 2017. As top priorities, ISSF urges IATTC to:

  • Adopt effective and enforceable tuna conservation measures for all fleets to avoid an increase in fishing mortality.
  • Develop harvest strategies for all key tuna species.
  • Strengthen monitoring, control and surveillance measures to support data collection — and increase the observer coverage requirement for longline vessels.
  • Strengthen Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) management through science-based measures.
  • Strengthen the IATTC compliance assessment process.
Five issues — including #tuna harvest strategies — demand attention & action from #IATTC this July. Click To Tweet

“We’re asking IATTC to avoid an increase in fishing mortality by extending the length of the purse seine fishery closure and/or extending the time/area closure known as ‘El Corralito,’ or by restricting fishing effort and evaluating the different scenarios for catch limits regarding monitoring and enforcement,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “Such action must be complemented by harvest strategies; strengthened monitoring, control and surveillance tools; and science-based measure for management of and improved data collection regarding FADs.”

The Eastern Pacific region has been a leader in the implementation of science-based management measures. To maintain this important role, though, the IATTC must take action in Mexico City to adopt and implement these fundamental management measures or reforms for the long-term health of the region’s tuna resources.” 

Additional improvements noted in the ISSF position statement include:

  • Last year, IATTC adopted a more complete interim harvest control rule (HCR) for yellowfin, skipjack and bigeye tuna in accordance with two years of scientific advice. ISSF would like to see IATTC test the interim HCR for yellowfin, skipjack and bigeye for robustness based on the main uncertainties in the assessment, such as the stock-recruitment relationship.
  • For large-scale purse seiners, IATTC implemented a 100% observer coverage requirement, but the requirement for longline fisheries is currently 5%. ISSF advocates that IATTC follow the advice of Scientific Staff 2016 and 2017 recommendations to increase observer coverage on longline vessels to 20% over a five-year period.
  • In 2016, the IATTC Scientific Staff and IATTC Scientific Advisory Committee made bycatch-mitigation recommendations for both purse seine and longline fisheries that were not adopted. IATTC needs to improve measures and strengthen efforts to mitigate the bycatch of vulnerable species in both purse seine and longline fisheries.

Access the full position statement with these recommendations and others.

As part of ISSF’s commitment to provide information and resources for RFMOs, vessel owners, ISSF participating companies, and governments that facilitate the application of science-based approaches, ISSF will again host a side event at the annual IATTC meeting. The event — Progress in Addressing Impacts of FADs on the Ecosystem — will feature presentations by fisheries scientists Dr. Gala Moreno of ISSF and Marlon Roman of IATTC.  A key feature of the presentations will be a review of research conducted on biodegradable FADs.

ISSF’s goal is to improve the sustainability of global tuna stocks by developing and implementing verifiable, science-based practices, commitments and international management measures that result in tuna fisheries meeting the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification standard without conditions. Therefore, ISSF’s appeal to the IATTC and RFMOs in all ocean regions aligns with performance indicators that comprise the principles of the MSC certification standard: Principle 1, Sustainable fish stocks; Principle 2, Minimizing environmental impacts; and Principle 3, Effective management.

 

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 https://iss-foundation.org/.