March 24, 2017 — SEAFOOD NEWS — A diverse, global group of commercial and non-profit organizations has joined the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) call for immediate improvements on tuna management, including developing harvest strategies, strengthening monitoring, control and surveillance tools, and improving the management of fish aggregating devices (FADs).
A March 21 outreach letter to four tuna Regional Fishing Management Organizations (RFMO) was co-signed by 83 nongovernment organizations, tuna processing companies, fleet associations, retailers, importers and food service operators. The RFMOs are IATTC (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission), ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas), IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission), and WCPFC (Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission).
These groups manage tuna fisheries in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. In 2015, more than 4.8 million tonnes of tuna were harvested, as reported in ISSF’s recent Status of the Stocks report.
Harvest strategies are based on science-based frameworks that include guidelines and limits for fishing vessels. The tools for monitoring, control, and surveillance include human observers, satellite vessel monitoring systems, electronic monitoring systems on vessels, and data collection and dissemination.
The ISSF-coordinated joint outreach letter urges the RFMOs to:
- Develop precautionary harvest strategies, including specific timelines to adopt target reference points, harvest control rules and other elements
- Where it is not already in place, require 100%observer coverage for all purse seine fishing vessels and all at-sea transshipment activities
- Identify and sanction non-compliance with the existing mandatory 5% observer coverage requirement for longline vessels
- Develop and adopt standards for electronic reporting and electronic monitoring, for all major fishing gear types, and modernize vessel monitoring systems
- Develop science-based recommendations for managingFADs (fish aggregating devices), including for stock assessments
- Adopt measures for using non-entangling FAD designs, to protect sharks and other non-target species
The letter requests that the above points are addressed in 2017.
The letter’s 83 signatories are:
Ahold Delhaize (Global)
Aldi North (Global)
Aldi South (Global)
American Albacore Fishing Association
American Bird Conservancy
Anova Seafood, BV
Auchan Retail (Global)
Bumble Bee Seafoods
Caterers Choice (UK)
Coop Italia (IT)
Coop Trading (All Scandinavia)
Environmental Defense Fund
Grupo Conservas Garavilla (Isabel)
Grupo Maritimo Industrial (Grupomar)
Herdez del Fuerte
IUCN SSC Tuna & Billfish Specialist Group
M & J Seafood (UK)
Marks & Spencer (UK)
Monterey Bay Aquarium
New England Seafood International (UK)
Ocean Harvesters Operative
Pacific Alliance for Sustainable Tuna (PAST)
Pick N Pay (South Africa)
REWE GROUP (Global)
SEAPAC (a subsidiary of Kingfisher)
Spar (South Africa)
Sustainable Fish Cities
Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
Thai Union Europe
The Nature Conservancy
Thunnus Overseas Group/Conserveries des Cinq Océans
Tunago Fishery, Ltd.
Woolworths (South Africa)
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 http://iss-foundation.org/.
This story originally appeared on Seafoodnews.com, a subscription site. It is reprinted with permission.