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5-year tuna plan published

A new 5-year plan that aims to increase the sustainability of global tuna fisheries has been published by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) today.

Called Advancing Sustainable Tuna Fisheries: A Five-Year Plan, it lays out the research and advocacy organisation’s mission and approach to meeting sustainability objectives over the next five years.

The new strategic plan is activated through three core pillars of science, influence, and verification — encompassing tuna stock health and fisheries bycatch, outreach to Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and vessels, partnerships with tuna companies, fishery improvement support, and more. ISSF’s ultimate objective remains to improve the sustainability of global tuna fisheries so they are capable of meeting the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification standard without conditions.

“Since ISSF began its work in 2009, tuna fisheries have changed, the industry has changed, and sustainability challenges have strengthened stakeholder cooperation,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “As progress is made and priorities evolve, it is essential to recalibrate our strategies to continue to drive the industry towards a more sustainable future. That’s what Advancing Sustainable Tuna Fisheries allows us to do.”

While ISSF tools and resources — because they help reach the organisation’s objective regarding MSC certification — are complementary to fisheries improvement work, a formalised focus on Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs) is new to Advancing Sustainable Tuna Fisheries.

“ISSF has a reputation for taking the scientific route — identifying and advocating for approaches based on the best data available,” said Bill Fox, ISSF Board member of Vice President, Fisheries, WWF-US. “We look forward to the Foundation bringing this rigorous focus to bear on the fisheries improvement work progressing across global tuna fisheries.”

In the plan, the Foundation also pledges to monitor emerging labour and social standards for tuna fishing activities, and to consider how ISSF and its nearly 30 participating tuna companies can support standards for best labour practices.

ISSF has launched a related, infographic-rich microsite that explores five focus areas of the strategic plan: bycatch mitigation, FADs and FAD management, illegal fishing, industry commitment, and harvest strategies. For all focus areas, which have evolved from the organization’s previous five-year plan, ISSF cites outcomes to date as a result of its model of scientific research, knowledge sharing, and advocacy.

Rob Fletcher

Rob Fletcher

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