New tuna measures target IUU, bycatch

Published on
May 18, 2017
tuna bycatch

New conservation measures from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation aim to reduce incidental capture of sharks and marine turtles and reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Two of the new measures are the first to affect longline vessels, since longline fishing accounted for 12 percent of the tuna catch globally in 2015, according to ISSF.

The new measures go into effect on 1 January, 2018. 

ISSF-participating seafood suppliers include Thai Union, Bumble Bee Seafoods, Chicken of the Sea and Starkist. 

“With about 75 percent of the world’s canned tuna processing capacity conforming to multiple ISSF measures for sustainability best practices, and with major tuna companies being transparently audited against those measures, we have a real opportunity to make changes on and off the water,” ISSF President Susan Jackson said.

Moving forward, tuna companies that do business with large-scale longline vessels must conduct transactions only with long-liners whose at-sea transshipment activities are 100 percent monitored by human observers, either onboard the main vessel or onboard the transshipment vessel.

“This measure aims to improve tuna product traceability and to curtail illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing,” ISSF said in a statement.

Another new measure requires participating tuna companies to conduct transactions only with those longline vessels that commit to follow best practices to protect sharks and marine turtles. Practices include long-liners’ use of circle hooks and monofilament lines, best-practice bycatch handling techniques, and prohibition of “shark lines,” according to ISSF.

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