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ISSF Urges Eastern Pacific Tuna Fisheries Managers to Protect Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna Stocks, Improve Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) Design and Management, and More

Pittsburgh, PA

Foundation Publishes Position Statement ahead of Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) Annual Meeting August 1-5

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has published a position statement ahead of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) annual meeting, which takes place August 1-5, 2022. The statement leads with the request for IATTC to ensure all Commission members are fully implementing the tuna conservation measure for bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks.

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“The IATTC demonstrated their commitment to maintaining healthy tuna catches — with bigeye of greatest concern — through the new tuna conservation measures it adopted in 2021,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “We are gratified that the current stock indicators show that bigeye and yellowfin fishing morality has not increased beyond sustainable levels set by the measure and that the interim assessment of skipjack is positive. Now it is essential that all Parties fully implement these measures and cooperate to enhance port sampling that will help maintain skipjack, bigeye, and yellowfin stocks at healthy levels into the future.”  

“We urge the IATTC to also address FAD management gaps. For example, IATTC still allows netting in FAD construction, has no agreed definition of biodegradable FADs, and does not have an effective FAD marking scheme or FAD recovery mechanisms,” Jackson continued. “This year especially, the IATTC must, at a minimum, prohibit the use of netting in FADs and act to transition fleets to the increased use of biodegradable FAD materials. Such changes will reduce the impact of FAD fisheries on the marine ecosystem in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.”

The ISSF position statement addresses these top priorities and others:

  • Fully implement C-21-04 so that the status quo fishing mortality for bigeye and yellowfin is not exceeded; and adequately resource and implement the bigeye Individual Vessel Limits Pilot Study during 2022 that will enhance port-sampling to monitor these limits.
  • Prohibit the use of any netting in the construction of FADs and encourage fishers/shipowners to deploy a percentage of FADs mostly made of biodegradable materials from 2023 onwards.
  • Accelerate the management strategy evaluation process for all target tunas.
  • Adopt best practice reforms to C-12-07 to improve the regulation of at-sea transshipment.
  • Establish a work plan to strengthen the Committee for the Review of Implementation of Measures adopted by the Commission’s procedures and outcomes.

Read the full IATTC Position Statement on the ISSF website. A Spanish translation of the statement is available.

Post Contact: Charlie Patterson, +1 202-680-8132, [email protected]
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