Bycatch Mitigation

Finding ways to reduce or eliminate tuna fishing’s negative impacts on “non-target” species and the marine ecosystem – that’s been an ISSF objective from the beginning. ISSF has researched bycatch-mitigation approaches across different fisheries and gear types, and shared our findings and recommendations with industry and tuna RFMOs. We’ve disseminated many best practices already, and new projects to discover even better ways to protect marine species and environments are underway.

Skippers Workshops in 30+ locations with 3,000+ participants
Our Model

    20+ ISSF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH cruises and experiments to test methods for avoiding bycatch


    90+ BYCATCH-
    skippers workshops worldwide with vessel crew, owners, scientists & other stakeholders


    Bycatch-mitigation RECOMMENDATIONS TO RFMOS via 15 joint letters, 19 side events & 39 position statements


    35 RFMO MEASURES reflecting ISSF priorities for reducing bycatch in fisheries

11There are 11 ISSF Conservation Measures impacting Bycatch Mitigation, focusing on anti-shark finning, non-entangling FADs, skippers workshops, and more.


Strategic Goals

  • Additional research on mitigation approaches for some bycatch species

  • Through Skippers Workshops, fishers voluntarily adopt bycatch-reduction best practices, which RFMOs then incorporate into their conservation measures

  • More fisheries meeting Marine Stewardship Council criteria for sustainability based on bycatch mitigation performance

Reducing Bycatch in Tuna Fisheries

Over years of rigorous at-sea research, we’ve studied the effectiveness of different methods to avoid catching or safely handling non-target species in tuna fisheries. We share our best-practice findings in reports and workshops.

Bycatch Mitigation Approaches:
ISSF Research Progress Report

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    • Passive mitigation

    • Avoid catching before set

    • Release techniques from net

    • Release techniques from deck

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    • Passive mitigation

    • Avoid catching

    • Release techniques from net

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    • Passive mitigation

    • Release techniques from deck

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    • Behavior at FADs

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    • Biodegradable non-entangling FADs

    • Managing FAD densities

  • Proven

  • More Research

Bycatch risks and rates for sharks, rays, turtles, and other marine
species can vary a great deal by fishing method and ocean.

Nearly 1,700 SKIPPERS
reached to date

Enough to place 1+ ISSF-trained skipper on EVERY large purse seine vessel operating today

If all ISSF measures and recommendations are fully implemented, bycatch rates will be cut in half.
In addition to Skippers Workshops & videos, ISSF offers bycatch-mitigation guidebooks for purse-seine and longline fishers in 10 languages.