Status of the Stocks
In 2019, we marked 10 years of producing Status of the World Fisheries for Tuna, or the “Status of the Stocks” report. Using current stock assessment data, ISSF scientists summarize the status and RFMO management of 23 tuna stocks worldwide — evaluating abundance, exploitation rate (fishing mortality), and environmental impact (bycatch).
Status of the Stocks also categorizes the tuna catch by species, ocean, and gear type. Our October edition of the report estimated a 4.9-million-tonne global catch, finding that 61% of the stocks were at a healthy level of abundance, 17% were overfished, and 22% were at an intermediate level.
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New Conservation Measure
ISSF’s Board of Directors approved a new fish aggregation device (FAD) management conservation measure – the tenth to focus on bycatch mitigation. Effective in 2021, ISSF Conservation Measure 3.7 Transactions with Vessels or Companies with Vessel-based FAD Management Policies asks ISSF participating seafood companies to have publicly available FAD management policies to comply with ISSF supply-chain recommendations for marine ecosystem health, including using non-entangling FADs and taking steps to mitigate silky shark bycatch.
The Board also amended measure 2.4 Supply Chain Transparency, Audit, Reporting and Purchase Requirements to create new reporting obligations for participating companies regarding sourcing tuna from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fisheries eligible to use the MSC label; Comprehensive FIPs listed on FisheryProgress.org scoring A, B or C or in their initial listing; and Comprehensive FIPs listed on FisheryProgress.org scoring D or E.
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ISSF Seafood Sustainability Contest
December 31 was the deadline for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in marine and fisheries science worldwide to submit entries to the first-ever ISSF Seafood Sustainability Contest. Launched in March 2019 to commemorate ISSF’s “Decade of Discovery,” the contest solicited innovative ideas for reducing bycatch and ecosystem impacts in tropical-tuna, purse-seine fisheries.
In March 2020, we awarded the $45,000 Grand Prize to Melissa Cronin of the University of California, Santa Cruz, whose proposal addressed handling-and-release methods to reduce manta ray and devil ray mortality. Guillermo Ortuno Crespo at the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab at Duke University received the $10,000 Runner-Up Prize for his proposal on predicting the dynamic, spatial distribution of non-target and sometimes target species based on their environmental preferences.