Fighting Illegal Fishing

Fishing activities that are illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) can harm fish stocks and undermine management efforts and responsible fishers. The gravity and complexity of this matter demand that we tackle it from multiple angles.

Our multi-pronged approach includes:
Our Model

    While data are limited, science tells us UNTRACKED VESSELS have substantial impact on fisheries health


    Stakeholders ELEVATE IUU issues, tools, and policy solutions to policymakers and enforcement bodies


    ISSF & partners recommend range of ANTI-IUU APPROACHES to RFMOs, such as vessel monitoring systems & compliance processes


    Tuna RFMOs now require UVIs; the number of vessels with UVIs INCREASED ~80% since 2011

18There are 18 ISSF Conservation Measures that are catalysts for industry action against IUU activities, from product traceability to transshipment, and more.


Strategic Goals

  • Eliminate IUU fishing

  • To further strengthen the fight against illegal fishing, 100% observer coverage — human or electronic — across all gears and tuna fisheries.

imageISSF is working to wipe out IUU fishing
with a multi-pronged approach


Tuna Companies Worldwide that process or market tuna commit to conform to and be audited on ISSF Conservation Measures, including those on traceability, data collection and transshipment, among many others that deter IUU activities.

imageRequiring transactions ONLY with vessels that meet requirements:

Tuna Fishing Vessels Worldwide can signal their commitment to fishing best practices by registering on the ProActive Vessel Register (PVR). ISSF also maintains IMO and UVI Databases.

  • imagePROACTIVE VESSEL REGISTER (PVR) Uses 3rd-party auditing to validate whether vessels are following science-based, sustainable tuna fishing practices

  • imageUVI DATABASES UVI & IMO databases track permanent, unique vessel identifiers for ships


ISSF scientific research and advocacy guide outreach to RFMOs and governments.

  • imageTechnical advice on best practices for monitoring, control and surveillance in tuna fisheries — for example, electronic monitoring system (EMS) pilot projects and workshops

  • imageRecommendations on effective RFMO governance, science-based decision-making, data collection, monitoring, enforcement and compliance mechanisms

  • image Scientific research reports, including on best practices for managing vessel records, supply vessels, vessel monitoring systems (VMS), and observer programs

The ISSF multi-pronged approach is paying off.
2013-2021 RFMO Progress on Proposals on:

Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS); Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU)


Note: This includes all RFMO CMs/decisions on EmER, PSN, IMO #’s, observer safety, compliance reform, performance review, access or charter transparency, eCDS, penalties for no data, etc.