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Updated Report Measures Global Tuna Stocks Against the MSC Standard

13 April 2015

GLOBAL - The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) has released an updated report assessing the status of global tuna stocks according to the methodology developed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), one of the world’s most widely recognized certification schemes for sustainable seafood.

The report, An Evaluation of the Sustainability of Global Tuna Stocks Relative to Marine Stewardship Council Criteria, is written by independent and experienced MSC assessors Paul Medley and Joseph Powers applying a consistent methodology across 19 major tuna stocks and four tuna Regional Fishery Management Organizations.

The aim is to evaluate the sustainability of these stocks and RFMO management systems applying the MSC standards.

The scores represented in the report are not a complete MSC assessment as they are not fishery-specific – they focus only on stock status (MSC Principle 1) and the international management aspects relevant to Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) (part of MSC Principle 3).

They do not consider management in national or bilateral jurisdictions, nor gear or fleet-specific ecosystem impacts (MSC Principle 2), which are important components in any complete MSC assessment.

As such, the primary purpose of this exercise is to:

  • Provide a basis for comparing between stocks scores that are assigned by the same experts;
  • Become a useful source document in future tuna certifications;
  • Provide a “snapshot” of the current status of the stocks and the strengths and identify opportunities for strengthening RFMO management.

Whereas previous versions of this report were based on early 2013 MSC standards – specifically, version 1.3 – this updated technical report reflects the version 2.0 of the MSC Standards announced in October 2014.

“ISSF first asked these two outside experts to score 19 tuna stocks against the MSC standards in 2013, and we are pleased that since then this document has been taken into consideration in Full Assessments of tuna fisheries against the MSC standards, or in Fishery Improvement Programmes (FIPs) that make use of the MSC scoring principles,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson.

“We believe that this has helped improve consistency in new scores. In addition, the document has served to identify several global shortcomings in tuna management that has led to a more consistent recognition of improvements needed in management of tuna fisheries.”

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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