WORLDWIDE: A global group of commercial and non-profit organizations has responded to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) request for immediate Regional Fishing Management Organization (RFMO) action on top priorities for sustainable tuna fisheries.
Some of the actions called for by ISSF in a letter dated March 21, sent to Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), include developing harvest strategies as well as strengthening monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) tools, including the management of fish aggregating devices (FADs).
The outreach letter was co-signed by 83 nongovernment organizations, tuna processing companies, fleet associations, retailers, importers and food service operators worldwide.
Some of these signatures are Bumble Bee Seafoods, Carrefour (Global), Co-op (UK and italy), Eroski (ES), IPNLF, ISSF, Lidl (Global), Marks & Spencer (UK), Mercadona (ES), Morrisons (UK), OPAGAC, Sainsbury’s (UK), Tesco, Thai Union/COSI, Tri Marine, WWF, among others.
The ISSF-coordinated joint outreach letter urges the RFMOs — which oversee tuna fishing in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans — at their 2017 meetings 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 per cent observer coverage for all purse seine fishing vessels and all at-sea transshipment activities;
~ Identify and sanction non-compliance with the existing mandatory 5 per cent 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 managing FADs (fish aggregating devices), including for stock assessments;
Adopt measures for using non-entangling FAD designs, to protect sharks and other non-target species.
According to ISSF’s recent Status of the Stocks report, more than 4.8 million tonnes of tuna — a major food source worldwide — were harvested in 2015.