Report: tuna stocks stable, management outdated

A new report from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) found that most of the commercially-fished tuna stocks are stable, but management systems are outdated or could be improved.

The report, An Evaluation of the Sustainability of Global Tuna Stocks Relative to Marine Stewardship Council Criteria, assessed the health of 19 commercial tuna stocks, along with various international management regimes. Independent and accredited assessment teams use these regimes, in part, to decide whether a fishery should be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as sustainable.

"When a particular fishery applies for MSC assessment, you are typically looking at one gear type, in one region for one portion of a stock of tuna, and there have been some inconsistencies in results as well as an overall lack of a global benchmark standard," said ISSF President Susan Jackson. "Rather than doing what the MSC process fosters, which is starting at the bottom and working at the local level on a particular fishery, we thought that the discussion would benefit from also starting at a top level and applying the principles systematically and equivalently across all 19 stocks and across all tuna regional fishery management organizations, or RFMOs."

According to an ISSF release, the report found that “most” of the 19 assessed commercial stocks are stable, but there was room for improvement with some of the management systems. Many of those systems, according to the release, “are outdated or less effective than they could be.”

The study is ongoing, and will be updated in the future to accommodate changes to the MSC certification requirements.


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