Improving Sustainability of Tuna Fishing for Commercial Fishing Companies

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Commercial Fishing Companies and Tuna Sustainability

Commercial fishing companies are under considerable pressure to improve the sustainability and transparency of their practices. This includes supplying the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) with catch data and a record of fishing activities. RFMOs use this information to effectively manage, conserve and protect fish stocks within the mandate of their respective jurisdiction (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2011).
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is helping to ensure that commercial fishing companies operate in a manner that improves the sustainability of the tuna fishing industry moving forward. 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 has implemented policy aimed at eliminating the overfishing of global tuna stocks as well as preserving marine ecosystems.

Combating IUU Fishing

The ISSF is part of a coalition focused on eradicating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by unscrupulous vessel operators. As part of its efforts to combat IUU fishing, 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).
Clover Leaf is a founding member of the ISSF, and a valuable member of the coalition to end IUU fishing. Clover Leaf is dedicated to working with fisheries and incentivizing the adoption of legal and sustainable fishing practices. The ISSF recognizes the importance of creating market-based initiatives to encourage transparent fishing practices as a viable method of fighting IUU activities (Miguel Jorge, 2014). Clover Leaf is a leader in the seafood production industry with considerable influence over commercial fishing companies and their practices.

Reducing Bycatch of Commercial Tuna Fishing

The ISSF is committed to assessing commercial fishing methods and identifying new practices that effectively minimize bycatch levels.
Every year, approximately 62% of tuna is caught by purse seine fishing vessels (ISSF, 2014). The ISSF recognizes purse seine fishing on FADs as a very effective method of fishing for tuna and is dedicated to lowering bycatch levels associated with this method. Since 2011, ISSF’s Bycatch Project has conducted globally coordinated cruises with fishing vessels and scientists to gain input to identify improvements to tuna purse seine fishing, focusing on reducing the overall environmental impact of this fishing method. The research findings are used in skipper workshops, resulting in identifying the best global practices, new techniques, and enhanced technologies to minimize bycatch on FADs and improving tuna fisheries (Patterson, 2014).
The ISSF continues to work towards identifying the best practices in the industry, but it is up to commercial fishing companies to ensure that these practices are implemented in order to ensure that the various tuna fisheries globally become more sustainable. Clover Leaf is playing an important role in effecting change in the fisheries in which it deals.  
Clover Leaf continues to improve sustainability efforts by implementing practices identified from the ISSF’s Bycatch Project, such as the use of non-entangling nets (The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family, 2014). Clover Leaf is also doing its part to improve the sustainability of the commercial fishing companies it sources from to ensure tuna stocks remain sustainable for future generations.

Works Cited

ISSF. (2014). Purse Seine. 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:


The Clover Leaf Seafoods Family. (2014). FAQ - How much bycatch is caught using FADs. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from Clover Leaf:

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