The Tunacons Foundation has been granted a 60,000 USD grant to better understand silky shark survival rates from interactions with purse seines. The Tunacons Foundation is run by industry to promote sustainability in their fisheries, many of which are MSC-certified.
The grant will be used for the electronic tagging of silky sharks to monitor survival; improve data collection and sampling rates. They also aim to identify handling and release techniques to reduce post-release mortality and any other factors that impact survival.
While we welcome efforts by the Tunacons Foundation to fund this research, an in-depth look at the Tunacons fishery itself has revealed that within the fishery’s UoAs “a few select large purse seine vessels are permitted by the IATTC to employ set types that are not covered in the assessment (dolphin sets).” We are attempting to clarify this situation with the CAB, as not all vessels with dolphin mortality limits (DMLs) actively use them. If, however, dolphin sets are involved in the fishery, it would appear to qualify as “compartmentalisation”, meaning that a fishery is targeting a stock using both certified and non-certified fishing practices. The MSC’s revised Fisheries Certification Process (FCP) in 2019 indicated that such compartmentalisation would no longer be allowed. Unfortunately, there was a phase-in time given to fisheries to comply with this mandate and therefore there are still some fisheries in which compartmentalisation is occuring.