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Author: Lynne Mandel

Priorities for Tuna RFMOs | FAD Management, Electronic Monitoring, & More

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Priorities for Tuna Fisheries Management 

Each year, ISSF identifies priority actions for tropical-tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) to take to improve fishery sustainability in their regions.

To shape RFMO discussion and decision-making, ISSF’s science and advocacy experts have outlined their concerns and advice for 2024. An updated ISSF web page offers an overview. ISSF position statements — which we disseminate ahead of RFMO annual meetings and special sessions — explore and expand on these priority topics.

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Featured Video

Success In Advocacy

In a video exploring the ISSF Strategic Plan, Continuously Improving Global Tuna Fishery Sustainability, ISSF President Susan Jackson reviews successes from our collaborative efforts to improve how tuna fisheries are managed—highlighting notable areas of progress like harvest strategies and FAD management.



Featured Resource

RFMOs have the legal frameworks, geographic scope, and membership to facilitate positive change across global tuna fisheries. Learn more about the world’s tuna RFMOs on the ISSF website.

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ISSF in the News

Op-Ed: Make 2024 the year that EM becomes ‘business as usual’ in global tuna fisheries

World Fishing & Aquaculture


Op-ed: Make EM ‘business as usual’ in tuna fisheries | And more on electronic monitoring

ISSF in the News

Op-ed: Make 2024 the year that EM becomes ‘business as usual’ in global tuna fisheries

In a new article for World Fishing & Aquaculture, ISSF President Susan Jackson urges action to unlock the transformative impacts of electronic monitoring.

“Investing in EMS is a ‘no-brainer’,” she writes, “And the cost of EMS equipment continues to become more affordable for both vessel owners and authorities. Yet EMS implementation remains too low and too slow.”

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An updated infographic reviews how tuna RFMOs are making progress in using electronic monitoring (EM) systems to provide on-board vessel monitoring, and other important information about this critical fisheries management tool.

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A new page on the ISSF website serves as a central hub for our technical content and general information on electronic monitoring.

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Did You Know?


ISSF’s Vessels in Other Sustainability Initiatives (VOSI) list now tracks if a vessel has installed, and is using, electronic monitoring systems (EMS). To be listed as such, vessels must meet the EM minimum system specifications and standards outlined in ISSF Technical Report 2022-09.

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Science-First for Sustainable Tuna Fisheries | An Overview of ISSF Research

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ISSF investigates and promotes science-based approaches for ensuring the long-term sustainability of global tuna stocks and the marine ecosystem.

The ISSF team works collaboratively with peer scientists, academics, environmental experts, governing bodies, and other stakeholders on issues where we can advance our understanding about sustainable fishing — and make a positive impact.

We publish reports, develop resources, and host events that support fishery health in key areas: tuna conservationfish aggregating device (FAD) managementmarine ecosystem healthbycatch reductioncapacity management, and illegal fishing prevention.

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Our scientists document activities and insights from ISSF at-sea research projects, international workshops and meetings, and fisheries data analysis.

Download ISSF reports
In addition to sharing research findings and analysis in ISSF reports, our scientists and advocacy experts co-author peer-reviewed articles in leading journals.

See a list of peer-reviewed articles co-authored by our Staff, Scientific Advisory Committee members, or other scientists whose projects were partially or fully funded by ISSF

Access articles


Featured Video

Science First

ISSF President Susan Jackson explores why and how ISSF’s work is grounded in science, as she presents the ISSF strategic plan, Continuously Improving Global Tuna Fishery Sustainability.



Featured Resource  

Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) regulate transshipment in their regions. With some exceptions, purse seiners are required to transship in port. Other gears, such as longline, may engage in transshipment at sea under certain regulatory conditions. Tuna RFMOs also mandate observer coverage and require the submission of transshipment data.

But gaps persist — particularly in the regulation of at-sea transshipment, including the types of data collected, the level of monitoring, and data-reporting recipients and timelines. These gaps can increase the likelihood of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities that undermine fisheries management.

ISSF is helping to improve tuna transshipment policies, practices, monitoring, and compliance — through our conservation measures for seafood companies and vesselsbest practices researchRFMO benchmarking analysis, and advocacy outreach.

View the web feature



Meet VOSI | Verified Transparency for Tuna Vessels

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Vessels in Other Sustainability Initiatives (VOSI)

Like the ProActive Vessel Register (PVR), ISSF’s Vessels in Other Sustainability Initiatives (VOSI) list is a transparency tool for the public — including stakeholders that want to understand which tuna vessels have made public commitments to more sustainable fishing beyond the commitments reflected on the PVR.

VOSI is verified through a third-party audit process, and it shows if a vessel is:

  • Using only fully non-entangling FADs (with no netting)
  • Providing FAD echosounder biomass data
  • Participating in a FIP, and/or
  • Participating in a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fishery
  • Using electronic monitoring systems (EMS)

In addition, vessels that are participating in the MSC’s In-Transition to MSC (ITM) program can now be recognized on VOSI. The ITM program supports fisheries of all sizes and all locations to make measurable, independently verified progress towards certification against the MSC Fisheries Standard

Explore VOSI

Download VOSI Audit Protocol



Improving sustainable practices worldwide through continued collaboration with fishers

More than a decade of bottom-up collaborative workshops and research with fishers from the principal tropical tuna purse seine fleets to reduce ecological impacts associated with the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) has yielded improved sustainable fishing practices in all oceans.

This integrative effort is founded on participatory knowledge-exchange workshops organized by ISSF, where scientists, fishers, and key stakeholders examine and develop together ways and tools to minimize fishery impacts.

Read the paper 

More articles from ISSF and partners


Featured Graphic

An updated map infographic shows the locations and extent of ISSF’s research with tuna fleets, including at-sea research cruises and biodegradable FAD projects, since 2011. Some of the research projects also have included government and NGO partners.



ISSF in the News

ISSF announces key committee appointments

Undercurrent News

The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), a sustainable fishing nonprofit organization, announced Thursday (Jan 18) that two members have been added to key committees. Ana Parma, who has joined the ISSF’s scientific advisory committee (SAC), is an expert in fisheries modeling, assessment and management. Read the article

ISSF Announces Committee Members | New Experts Join Science & Environmental Stakeholder Committees

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Dr. Ana Parma Joins as New Member of the ISSF Scientific Advisory Committee; Daniel Suddaby Joins as New Member of the ISSF Environmental Stakeholder Committee

ISSF is pleased to announce new members Dr. Ana Parma to the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and Daniel Suddaby to the Environmental Stakeholder Committee (ESC).

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Ana Parma to the SAC and are confident that her broad experience in fisheries, including tuna, will be vitally important in continuing our efforts to identify and advocate for sustainable fishing practices,” said Susan Jackson, ISSF President.

The ISSF SAC is a diverse group of leading experts in fisheries science and tuna populations who offer guidance on organizational research priorities and support development of ISSF’s technical reports.

ISSF also welcomes Daniel Suddaby, Executive Director for the Global Tuna Alliance, as a new member to the ESC.

“Mr. Suddaby has two decades of experience that will prove greatly important to our collaborative work. We are thankful to have him be a part of our Environmental Stakeholder Committee and look forward to benefitting from his expertise in fisheries and marine conservation,” said Ms. Jackson.

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85% of Global Tuna Catch Comes from Stocks at Healthy Levels

 Of the total commercial tuna catch worldwide, 85% comes from stocks at “healthy” levels of abundance, according to the latest ISSF Status of the Stocks report. Overfished stocks accounted for 11% of the total catch, and 4% of the catch came from stocks at an intermediate level of abundance.

No individual stock statuses have changed since the March 2023 Status of the Stocks report. The latest report incorporates recent stock-assessment results for Western Pacific bigeye, Western Pacific yellowfin, North Pacific albacore, North Atlantic albacore, and Southern bluefin, none of which has changed. The lack of substantial changes in stock status between report periods highlights the value of continuous scientific assessments to inform stock-management decisions.

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Featured Resource

Interactive Stock Status and Catch Tool
Our interactive tool allows you to visualize current and historical data from ISSF’s Status of the Stocks report, which compiles scientific assessments of 23 commercial tuna stocks worldwide.

The tool has three tabs — one for visualizing tuna stock health since 2011, another for visualizing the current tuna catch by fishing method, and a third with catch trends by fishing method since 1950.

Access the interactive tool


ISSF in the News

Susan Jackson – Conserving Fisheries and Shared Resources

Grey Matter Show


Testing Biodegradable Fishing Gear Around the World | NEW Infographics & Video

Featured Research

Jelly-FADs: Science Leads the Way on Improved FAD Design

ISSF is working to discover and promote best practices for an urgent change in fishing gear: the biodegradable fish aggregating device, or bio-FAD. Some of our most exciting work centers on “jelly-FADs”—bio-FADs designed in collaboration with a team of physical oceanographers.

Jelly-FADs are made of organic materials and are smaller than traditional models, yet they drift slowly, like jellyfish, so ocean currents are less likely to carry them too far afield. Both of those qualities will reduce their environmental impact if they are lost or abandoned.

An ISSF video offers a behind-the-scenes look at designing and testing jelly-FADs.


Featured Graphics

NEW! Map & Timeline of Biodegradable FAD Research 

ISSF sponsors at-sea research to find the best non-entangling designs and natural materials for FADs that can biodegrade.

An updated map shows where new trials and deployments of biodegradable FADs are taking place around the world. It also indicates the tuna fishing gear types, fleets, and dates for each project.


An updated timeline shows ISSF research and other activities in 2009–2023 focused on brainstorming, designing, and testing biodegradable FADs for tuna fishers.




Reviewing Outcomes for Tuna Fisheries

As we look forward to another year of collaborative work at ISSF, we’re also looking back at last year’s notable results.

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Reviewing Outcomes for Tuna Fisheries

Happy New Year! As we look forward to another year of collaborative work at ISSF, we’re also looking back at last year’s notable results.

From compliance improvements to harvest strategies, how did tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) progress priority areas of sustainable fisheries management in 2023?

Read on for a recap of outcomes as reviewed by ISSF’s fisheries science and policy experts.

Some Hits, Some Misses for Indian Ocean Tuna Resources at Annual Meeting

Progress for Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuna Fisheries, Including Harvest Strategy for North Pacific Albacore and Requirements for Non-entangling FADs

Mixed Results at ICCAT: Compliance Reforms and Electronic Monitoring Standards Among Positive Results

Uneven Outcomes for Western and Central Pacific Ocean Tuna Fisheries at Management Meeting



Most Popular Stories of 2023 | Don’t Miss Our Top 5

Uneven Outcomes for WCPO Tuna Fisheries | ISSF Reviews WCPFC Annual Meeting

Featured News

Uneven Outcomes for Western and Central Pacific Ocean Tuna Fisheries at Management Meeting

Some Progress on Tuna Conservation Measure and Observer Coverage at WCPFC, But No Improvements to FAD Management or Compliance Process Transparency

The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) recently wrapped its annual meeting. Since the majority of the world’s tuna catch sourced from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), the gathering is always highly anticipated and closely watched.

This year’s meeting brought some positive outcomes for Pacific Ocean tuna fisheries, including a harvest control rule for North Pacific albacore, the adoption of an updated tropical tuna conservation measure, and moderate progress on electronic monitoring and observer coverage. But the Commission’s work fell far short in other areas, especially regarding increasing transparency in WCPFC compliance assessment processes and improving fish aggregating device (FAD) management.

ISSF fisheries policy experts Holly Koehler and Claire van der Geest review outcomes of the WCPFC meeting against our organization’s most critical asks.

Read the ISSF response

November 30 E News | Priorities for Pacific Ocean Tuna Fisheries | Improving Compliance Processes Tops the List

Featured News

ISSF Urges WPCFC to Improve Compliance Processes, to Adopt New Tropical Tuna Conservation Measure and Harvest Control Rule for North Pacific Albacore Tuna

ISSF has issued its position statement for consideration by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) ahead of its 20th regular session from December 4-8, 2023 in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. The statement leads with a call for improved compliance processes.

“Regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) need strong and transparent compliance processes in order to meet their objectives, strengthen their performance, and be accountable to their many and diverse stakeholders,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “Yet the WCPFC is the only tuna RFMO with a compliance assessment process that is closed to accredited observers. That’s why our position statement leads with a call for the Commission to develop guidelines for the observer participation in compliance assessment processes.”

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Pacific Ocean tuna fisheries and the new MSC fisheries standard

In the world’s largest tuna fishing grounds, an important initiative is underway to ensure fisheries can meet the newest requirements of the leading seafood sustainability certification standard – the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries standard.

ISSF’s Dr. Victor Restrepo reviews how embracing a new pathway to harvest strategies now is helping some fisheries retain MSC certification, while more work remains for many other stocks.

Read the op-ed


Featured Resource

RFMO Best Practices Snapshot — 2023: Compliance Processes

Our “snapshots” identify best practices that RFMOs should follow to manage tuna fisheries sustainably. This snapshot identifies best practices in compliance processes, and then shows each RFMO’s progress in implementing those practices. 



ISSF in the News

Mixed outcomes at ICCAT annual session


ISSF report indicates little change in global tuna sustainability since March