Commercial Tuna Fishing Regulations for Improving Sustainability

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The ISSF and Commercial Tuna Fishing Regulations

Commercial tuna fishing regulations have been put in place by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) in order to facilitate the sustainable use of the world’s tuna stocks. The ISSF is a global organization composed of leading scientists, members of the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, who are all focused on promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term health of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch, and promoting ecosystem health.
The ISSF works with and supports the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), vigorously advocating the adoption and implementation of science-based management measures so that tuna stocks and their ecosystem are managed comprehensively and sustainably (ISSF, 2014).

Regulations to Eradicate IUU Fishing

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to threaten the sustainability of tuna stocks. The ISSF is part of a coalition within the seafood industry that is actively striving to eradicate IUU fishing activities. As part of its efforts, the ISSF requires that all participating processors, traders, and importers refrain from transactions with vessels that:
  • are not flagged to a country that is participating in its RFMO,
  • are not on an authorized vessel list from an RFMO, or
  • are on an RFMO’s IUU list (Miguel Jorge, 2014).
As a founding member of the ISSF, Clover Leaf is a major part of the coalition against IUU activities. They have concluded that providing market-based incentives is a powerful motivator for combating IUU fishing activities, and for these vessels to adopt transparency in their fishing practices for the benefit of all interested stakeholders within the tuna industry (Miguel Jorge, 2014).

ISSF Compliance

The ISSF is committed to promoting transparency in the tuna fishing industry. Participating companies are audited by a third party firm that objectively evaluates the performance of the company in 17 different areas of compliance. Some of the audit points of compliance include:
  • No IUU transactions
  • Submitted catch data to appropriate RFMOs
  • Traceability processes in place
  • International Marine Organization (IMO) number for all supply vessels where eligible
  • Purse seiners flagged to RFMO
  • Purse seiner skipper training
  • Compliant with large scale purse seiner capacity measure
Compliance also requires that there be a purse seiner observer aboard at least one trip per year (MVM Law Offices, 2014). Compliance with large-scale purse seiner capacity measures are important in the ISSF’s efforts to prevent overfishing of the world’s tuna stocks.
Through the ISSF, Clover Leaf has made tremendous efforts to improve the traceability and transparency of tuna fishing operations. The results of these efforts are evident with Clover Leaf being deemed compliant in all 17 areas of ISSF regulation for 2013 (MVM Law Offices, 2014). Clover Leaf’s commitment to sustainable seafood goes beyond tuna; Clover Leaf currently sources at least 95% of its seafood products sustainably with a goal of sourcing all of its products from sustainable sources (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014).
Commercial tuna fishing regulations are necessary to protect the long-term health of tuna stocks and our oceans; Clover Leaf is doing its part to ensure tuna stocks remain healthy for future generations to enjoy. 

Works Cited

ISSF. (2014). Our Story. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from International Seafood Sustainability Foundation:

Miguel Jorge. (2014, July 2). ISSF: A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO ENDING IUU. Retrieved October 15, 2014, from ISSF:

MVM Law Offices. (2014, July 10). 2013 Compliance Certificate for Clover Leaf Foods ("Clover Leaf"), a Participating Company of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation ("ISSF"). Retrieved October 21, 2014, from Clover Leaf Sustaining Fisheries:

The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014). FAQ - What does 'sustainable seafood' mean? Retrieved October 1, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

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