Thirty-eight tuna vessels have signed up as of this week for a publicly accessible database of vessels that have committed to improve fishing practices: the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) ProActive Vessel Register (PVR). In this way, retailers, processers, suppliers and consumers can identify vessels that are taking a proactive approach to conservation and enacting responsible, modern day fishing practices.
The PVR provides validated data on each registered vessel and tracks vessel-specific detail on their progress towards implementing a host of standards set by ISSF. These commitments include improvements such as 100 percent observer coverage, skipper training and the end to at-sea trans-shipments for purse seine vessels.
Vessels will also be provided with iPads with educational materials, knowledge testing and data gathering applications for skippers. All data recorded will be provided to the scientific bodies of the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) on a confidential basis to help advance science and shape policy.
“We all know that for tuna fisheries, there’s a lot of work to do. And at the same time, we should not just walk away from vessels that need time to make changes. The ProActive Vessel Register is exactly what is needed right now. Vessels that are making positive steps will be identified, verified and that information will be publically available,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson.
Vessels can go to ISSF’s website and fill out an application to begin the process of joining. An independent third-party will conduct audits and a regular review of vessels on the register to ensure transparency.
Jackson noted the importance of allowing every stakeholder to have access to this register and of having it validated by a credible auditing scheme.
“As ISSF identifies even better practices, and vessels put in the work to meet the new standard, new boxes will be added and checked on the PVR. Our goal is for the list to live and grow as our scientific understanding evolves,” Jackson added.
In June, the ISSF Board of Directors has adopted a conservation measure to begin addressing overfishing by the large-scale tropical tuna purse seiners. ISSF proposed keeping new vessels from being introduced into the fisheries.